Attorney for judge accused of padding wedding fees says she ‘simply kept bad records’

Published: Nov. 15, 2022 at 4:45 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The federal tax fraud trial for New Orleans City Judge Ernestine “Teena” Anderson-Trahan continued on Tuesday (Nov. 15) with several witnesses taking the stand.

Anderson-Trahan was the subject of a Fox 8 investigation into judges overcharging couples to officiate their weddings.

Jurors heard from Anderson-Trahan’s campaign manager, her tax preparer, and the IRS.

Anderson-Trahan’s attorney Michael Magner said his client was extremely unorganized and simply kept bad records.

The 2nd City Court judge was indicted on Jan. 7, 2022. One week later, the Louisiana Supreme Court suspended her with pay, pending the outcome of her trial. If convicted as charged, she could face up to 12 years in federal prison.

The indictment accuses Anderson-Trahan of charging higher fees for weddings outside of normal business hours, weddings outside the Algiers Courthouse, and marriages scheduled on Valentine’s day.

Zurik: Orleans judges may be breaking law with high wedding fees

Our investigation found that Anderson-Trahan charged one couple as much as $180 when state law said the fee should’ve been $5.

Anderson-Trahan allegedly reported to the government that she made $25,000 officiating weddings, but in 2017, she officiated 473 weddings, which would have totaled over $47,000 in cash.

Anderson-Trahan’s current term ends in 2024.

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