BATON ROUGE, La. — A state senator who has pleaded no contest twice to domestic abuse charges said Friday he won’t step down, even as his colleagues consider the possibility of trying to force him from office.
Sen. Troy Brown, a Democrat from Geismar, issued a statement saying he understands “the anger at my behavior.” He apologized to his family, constituents, the governor and his Senate colleagues and said he’s sought God’s forgiveness.
But he said expulsion from the Senate — which he termed “the political equivalent to execution” — would be an unreasonable response and added it was used only once in Louisiana, when a senator was convicted of a felony. He noted his pleas were on misdemeanor charges.
“I can only echo my anger management therapist: Take a few deep breathes and try to come up with a more constructive reaction to help women, like voting for equal pay,” Brown said.
The senator pleaded no contest Wednesday to a misdemeanor charge of domestic abuse battery, arising from allegations he bit his wife’s arm during a dispute. He was sentenced to 30 days in jail, with all but two days suspended.
He pleaded no contest in September to a misdemeanor simple battery charge stemming from allegations he punched a girlfriend during a 2015 dispute.
Gov. John Bel Edwards has said he “would welcome” Brown’s resignation and several lawmakers have called for him to step down. Brown has been suspended from all his Senate committee assignments.
Senate President John Alario, R-Westwego, told NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune that some senators have suggested they might try to take disciplinary action against Brown, though it’s not clear how much support such response would have.
“If the body decides on expulsion, I will respect their wishes, but I will utilize all legal options available to me to protect my constituents’ rights to be represented,” Brown said.
If senators want to force Brown out of the Senate, expulsion would require a two-thirds vote of the Senate during a legislative session. The next legislative session is expected in mid-February.
Brown’s district includes portions of St. Charles, St. John the Baptist, St. James, Iberville, West Baton Rouge, Ascension, Assumption and Lafourche parishes.