Jessie LeBlanc resigned from her position as 23rd Judicial District Court judge in Louisiana on Thursday after a series of racist texts showed that she used the n-word to refer to two Black employees, WAFB reports.
The unveiling of the texts led to the confirmation that LeBlanc, who is white, was involved in an eight-year relationship and extramarital affair with former Assumption Parrish chief deputy Bruce Prejean. One of the persons LeBlanc called the n-word was a Black law clerk who was also reportedly involved in a sexual relationship with Prejean. The second slur was made in reference to a different district employee.
The texts were the result of a heated argument between LeBlanc and Prejean over his involvement with the law clerk.
In her resignation letter LeBlanc claimed that three of her court employees were aware of her affair. She also alleges that a second district judge named Alvin Turner was made aware of the relationship between Prejean and the law clerk in 2017, because the clerk was his employee.
Turner, however denies those allegations.
After the texts were released, LeBlanc gave an interview with WAFB, where she gave an eyebrow raising interview denying that she had never used the n-word until the text exchange.
“Not in a – no – not – no – not in a – no – I haven’t used that racial slur in the past,” she stammered in response. “This was in a moment of a heated exchange that was private between Bruce and I, that I never dreamed would have come out to the public.”
A day after LeBlanc’s resignation the Louisiana Supreme Court announced Judge Jerome J. Barbera, lll would return from retirement to fill the vacancy until she is replaced.
Community groups and local activists have urged for LeBlanc to resign, making Thursday’s announcement the culmination of years of work.
“Are we happy that somebody that used the N-word is no longer having the opportunity to preside over members of our community? Yes,” said Baton Rouge NAACP chapter president, Eugene Collins. “But victory? No, because we shouldn’t still be fighting these issues in 2020.”