It’s all a hoax,’ Hosemann says of accusations

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 21, 2002

Warren County Judge Gerald Hosemann, left, looks on as his attorney, William Kirksey, answers questions about actions taken in Hinds County Judge Bobby DeLaughter’s courtroom Wednesday.(The Vicksburg Post/MELANIE DUNCAN)

[02/21/02]JACKSON Accused Judge Gerald Hosemann told the press Wednesday he’s the victim, but did not explain why a former court reporter would set him up for an aggravated assault charge.

“It’s all a hoax,” Hosemann said after a planned hearing was called off. “The truth will come out. No crime has ever been committed.”

Hosemann also said he will not be removed from the bench by the state’s Judicial Performance Commission, which was asked in January to make him step down until the case against him is resolved.

This morning, the commission’s one-page order was made public, saying the 16-year Warren County and Youth Court judge, should continue to hear cases. It said suspension before grand jury action “would be premature and inappropriate.”

“The Judicial Performance Commission gave me a show-cause hearing on Feb. 1,” Hosemann said. “After some evidence was introduced, they voted unanimously to deny my suspension.”

The commission meets in secret and forwards its recommendations to the state Supreme Court. Its order revealed today said confidentiality was being waived “to serve the public interest and to promote public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary.”

The Supreme Court is not bound by the recommendation, signed by Judge Clarence E. Morgan III.

Juanita “Nita” Johnston, 47, who spent more than a month in Vicksburg and Jackson hospitals after being found severely injured on Hosemann’s Hinds County property on Dec. 6 was not called to Wednesday’s hearing before Judge Bobby DeLaughter.

Hosemann was asked why Johnston, with whom court documents say he had an extensive extramarital relationship, would falsely accuse him. He did not respond, but repeated that it was all a hoax.

Hosemann said he had offered the commission photographs of Johnston’s injuries, as well as “other exculpatory evidence” and that was the plan for Wednesday’s hearing, too.

DeLaughter, however, granted a request from prosecutors to recuse himself because he would, in essence, be ruling on his own Dec. 28 decision to issue a warrant for Hosemann’s arrest.

DeLaughter said he would enter an order to hand over the motion to another Hinds County judge, but no new date was set.

Hosemann’s attorney, William Kirksey, said he had no problem with DeLaughter hearing his motion to declare the arrest warrant invalid.

There were several specific allegations that Hinds and Warren investigators had provided false information to support the arrest warrant and that Johnston’s injuries were self inflicted while she was drunk and on drugs.

Hinds County Investigator Pamela Turner, in her sworn statement that supports the arrest warrant, said that Hosemann told investigators “he had picked Ms. Johnston up and took her to his property on Puckett Road in Utica. Sometime later, an argument erupted between the two.”

The warrant application says Johnston identified Hosemann as her attacker, stating that she was “struck in the head, beaten and kicked in the stomach.”

Before Wednesday’s hearing, DeLaughter pointed out that even if he granted the defense motion, the case could still be presented to a grand jury.

The Hinds County Sheriff’s Department has been investigating the case, but has not turned over its case file to the Hinds County district attorney. Sources in the DA’s office say they will present the case for indictment when the sheriff’s investigation is concluded.

Aggravated assault carries a possible 20-year prison sentence.