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Louisiana judge who allegedly said the n-word in video to take unpaid leave

A Louisiana judge was caught on video using the N-word and calling an alleged burglar a “roach.” Though she is resisting calls to resign, she did agree to temporarily step down from the bench and take a period of unpaid leave.

Home video surfaced last week of Lafayette City Court Judge Michelle Odinet showing her family watching film of a failed car burglary in their driveway.

Attorney Dane Ciolino confirmed that Odinet’s voice can be heard on the clip using the racial slur as her family had been viewing security footage of a Saturday burglary. In the burglary, a black man, Robert Handy, was charged with two counts of simple burglary, which took place at the family’s home. 

The footage was first reported by the Current, which is a nonprofit news organization in Lafayette. It makes several references to “Mom” as the burglary unfolds, which was found to be Odinet. A male voice can be heard on the clip saying, “And Mom’s yelling n—–, n—–.” The female voice responds, “We have a n—–, it’s a n—–, like a roach.”

Odinet told Current that she and her family, as she is the mother of two sets of twin children, had been the victims of an armed burglary. The police report did nto say that Handy had a weapon during the event. 

The judge said she was unable to sleep after the incident, and she also claimed she had taken a “sedative” before the recording. “I have zero recollection of the video and the disturbing language used during it,” Odinet relayed in a statement.

“Anyone who knows me and my husband, knows this is contrary to the way we live our lives. I am deeply sorry and ask for your forgiveness and understanding as my family and I deal with the emotional aftermath of this armed burglary,” she said. Calls for Odinet’s resignation began quickly after the footage began circulating. 

ARTICLE: ELIZABETH HERTZBERG

MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: THE CURRENT

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