IN RE: JENNIFER E. GAUBERT
ATTORNEY DISCIPLINARY PROCEEDING
disciplinary matter arises from formal charges filed by the
Office of Disciplinary Counsel ("ODC") against
respondent, Jennifer E. Gaubert, an attorney licensed to
practice law in Louisiana, but currently ineligible to
April 6, 2012, respondent was a passenger in a taxi cab
driven by Hervey Farrell. Respondent was highly intoxicated.
At some point, Mr. Farrell and respondent had a sexual
encounter in the vehicle. Mr. Farrell then used his cell
phone to take a sexually explicit video of respondent.
the encounter, Mr. Farrell called 911 to report that he had
been sexually assaulted by respondent. As a result,
respondent was charged in New Orleans Municipal Court with
simple battery. Mr. Farrell also filed a civil suit against
respondent on March 1, 2013, alleging that he suffered tort
damages as a result of her sexual advances in the cab.
April 5, 2013, one year after the incident, respondent went
to the Third District Station of the New Orleans Police
Department to report that she was the victim of the crimes of
extortion and video voyeurism perpetrated by Mr. Farrell.
According to the police report, respondent claimed that her
friend and attorney, Brigid Collins, flagged down a cab in
the French Quarter and told the driver, Mr. Farrell, to take
respondent to an address in Lakeview. Respondent admitted
that she was intoxicated during the ride and got into the
front seat and began kissing Mr. Farrell. Mr. Farrell later
stopped the cab in the Lakeview area and used his cell phone
to record a video of respondent, during which she exposed her
genitalia. Respondent claimed that Ms. Collins received a
copy of the video via e-mail and that Mr. Farrell indicated
that if he received $1, 000, the video and the charges he
filed would "go away."
Farrell was later arrested on charges of video voyeurism and
extortion. As a result of his arrest, Mr. Farrell spent about
thirty hours in jail.
an investigation of respondent's complaint against Mr.
Farrell, on October 1, 2013, the state charged respondent
with one count of false swearing for the purposes of denying
a constitutional right, a felony, in violation of La. R.S.
14:126.2. Respondent was arraigned and pleaded not guilty.
She subsequently elected a bench trial.
April 2, 2014, while the state charges were pending,
respondent was tried in Municipal Court on the simple battery
charge brought by Mr. Farrell. She was found guilty of that
offense and fined costs. Following the denial of
respondent's motion for new trial, her conviction of
simple battery became final.
13, 2014, the state amended the bill of information to charge
respondent with one count of false swearing for the purposes
of violating public health or safety, a felony, in violation
of La. R.S. 14:126.1. On the same day, respondent pleaded not
guilty to that charge.
January 16, 2015, a one-day bench trial was held in Criminal
District Court before Judge Arthur Hunter. The state called
two witnesses: Ms. Collins and the police officer who took
respondent's criminal complaint. Ms. Collins testified
that she never received an e-mail or any other communication
from Mr. Farrell or his attorney requesting $1, 000 for the
charges and the video to "go away." She stated that
she did receive a copy of the video and that she received a
demand for between $50, 000 and $60, 000 in connection with
the settlement negotiations of the civil suit.
close of the state's case, respondent moved for a
judgment of acquittal. Judge Hunter deferred his ruling.
Respondent then called several witnesses who testified to
seeing the sexual encounter in the cab. The witnesses denied
having any knowledge of the extortion attempt. Respondent
also testified on her own behalf.
end of the trial, Judge Hunter denied respondent's motion
for a judgment of acquittal. Finding no evidence that Mr.
Farrell or his attorney ever made a demand for $1, 000 and
crediting Ms. Collins' testimony that the $60, 000 demand
was in connection with the civil suit, Judge Hunter found
respondent guilty of the lesser included offense of criminal
mischief, a misdemeanor, based on her false report of
extortion. On February 25, 2015, Judge Hunter denied
respondent's motions for new trial and post-verdict
judgment of acquittal. Judge Hunter sentenced respondent to
serve one day in ...