Originally created 12/16/04

Judge throws out lawsuit by Streat



A federal judge has tossed a lawsuit filed by a former state senator against a former federal prosecutor.

According to the order signed by U.S. District Judge Dudley H. Bowen Jr. on Friday, former state Sen. Van Streat Sr.'s allegations against former federal prosecutor Rick Thompson could not be supported by facts or entitle him to relief under the law.

Mr. Streat filed the federal lawsuit in October, alleging that Mr. Thompson violated his right to run for public office and libeled him in October 2002.

The Nicholls senator was named in a state indictment later dismissed by a special prosecutor, who found that the charges lacked merit for a criminal prosecution. A few days later, Mr. Thompson, as the U.S. attorney for the South District, issued a news release announcing he had filed three Open Records Act requests to further investigate Mr. Streat and any possible connection between the special prosecutor and the governor, both Democrats.

Mr. Thompson resigned in January after 26 months in office. The federal Office of Professional Responsibility rebuked him publicly for the news release concerning Mr. Streat.

Judge Bowen wrote that no action by Mr. Thompson violated Mr. Streat's right to run for office and noted that Mr. Streat did run for office. There is no constitutional right to run for election unhampered, however, he wrote.

As to Mr. Streat's allegation that Mr. Thompson libeled him, that allegation could not stand because the statute of limitations had expired, the judge wrote.

Mr. Streat was defeated in the Nov. 5, 2002, election. The dismissed indictment accused him of helping a murderer move to a different prison in exchange for campaign contributions.

While the criminal case was dropped, Mr. Streat entered a consent order with the State Ethics Commission. He admitted that he failed to disclose on his campaign contribution disclosure report four $1,000 contributions made by the convicted killer's supporters, who wanted him moved to a different prison.

Reach Sandy Hodson at (706) 823-3226 or sandy.hodson@augustachronicle.com.