Steven Seagal Resigned Rather Than Face IA Investigation, According to Sheriff Newell Normand
According to beefy action film star Steven Seagal's former "boss," Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand, Seagal is not "on loan" from Jefferson Parish, as Seagal asserted recently after a massive MCSO raid on a home in Laveen, where one -- count him, one -- suspect was nabbed for his alleged involvement in raising roosters for the purposes of cockfighting.
Indeed, according to Sheriff Normand, who once played host to Seagal's A&E reality series Steven Seagal: Lawman, the tough-guy Akido master resigned rather than face an internal affairs investigation by the JPSO into allegations of sex trafficking and sexual assault raised in a 2010 lawsuit by an ex-employee.
Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office spokesman Colonel John Fortunato related Normand's reply to my inquiry as to whether or not Seagal was "on loan" to Maricopa County.
"[Seagal] was facing an internal affairs investigation immediately following the outcome of his lawsuit," said Normand via his spokesman. "And he refused to return to Jefferson Parish, at which time he tendered his resignation."
This directly contradicts Seagal's statement to the press at the Laveen "cockfight" bust, after Sheriff Joe Arpaio identified Seagal as a member of Arpaio's posse.
"I mean I don't really know about the posse," KTAR quotes Seagal as saying. "I know I'm on loan out from Louisiana."
But the JPSO says Seagal is no longer a reserve officer or affiliated with Jefferson Parish, due to Seagal's resignation.
In her lawsuit, ex-swimsuit model Kayden Nguyen accused Seagal of sex trafficking and creating a hostile work environment by groping her and making unwanted sexual advances toward her.
The complaint, which has since been dropped, stated that she was hired through a Craigslist ad to be Seagal's executive assistant as Seagal filmed his reality show in Jefferson Parish, just outside of New Orleans.
But Nguyen alleged that, "what the production company really wanted was an `Attendant' to provide sex on demand to Mr. Seagal..."
Supposedly, she was to take the place of one of two female Russian masseuses, as one of them had recently left Seagal's employ.
The lawsuit is bursting with salacious details, all of which Seagal's lawyer has denied to the press, claiming that Nguyen had been fired from her position for illicit drug use. (No criminal charges were ever filed in the Seagal-Nguyen case.)
Here's one of the more tawdry episodes in the complaint, courtesy of TMZ.com:
After the allegations in the lawsuit were made public, Sheriff Normand called a halt to the filming of Steven Seagal: Lawman. And A&E had to find another sheriff, one so crass in his drive for publicity that he wouldn't care about the scandal.
As a result, Seagal's now teamed up with Sheriff Joe, and Seagal's running around with the MCSO as Joe stages busts for Seagal's benefit.
According to published reports, Seagal and actor Lou Ferrigno were sworn into the sheriff's immigration posse in November.
I called the Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board, and spoke with executive director Lyle Mann. Mann said that normally if an individual wanted to become a certified officer, like Shaquille O'Neal was at the Tempe Police Department when O'Neal was still playing with the Suns, he or she would have to meet POST requirements.
If, like O'Neal, the person had been a peace officer elsewhere, he or she would still have to be appointed by a local law enforcement agency, and undergo various tests and a background checks.
"I've had no information from the MCSO that [Seagal's] interested in becoming a certified officer," Mann told me.
This is unlike in Jefferson Parish, where Seagal was a reserve officer and had been grandfathered in to Louisiana POST, as he'd been a commissioned deputy for many years.
At the Laveen cockfight bust, Seagal reportedly bragged about "breaking down the gate to the home the sheriff's officers raided."
As a simple posse member, albeit one with a TV crew, can Seagal break down gates or even arrest people? Posse members are supposed to operate merely in a support capacity, but the MCSO has been willing to exploit any legal gray area available to them on the issue in the past.
Mann declined to render an opinion on Seagal's supposedly breaking down that gate in Laveen.
One thing seems clear, Seagal does not have the authority that he once had in Jefferson Parish, that of a peace officer. According to Jefferson Parish, that authority ceased once he resigned.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Phoenix New Times' biggest stories.