Truth in Politics Ad

The nonprofit Truth in Politics, which is run by a Republican operative, takes a shot at Democrat John Bel Edwards in a televised ad.

"Six women reported Johnny Anderson for sexual harassment and assault. The governor hired him anyway," said Juanita Washington, looking into the camera.

Washington used to work in the governor’s office. Johnny Anderson was Edwards’ deputy chief of staff.

"I was (Anderson’s) next victim. Harassed. Groped. Assaulted. I reported him, too,” Washington said in the ad. “Then I was unemployed."

This Truth Test is unlike the others 3 Investigates has conducted. Typically, a piece of data, an interview or a public record reveals an objective fact to support or contradict a claim. The claims in the Truth in Politics ad are tied to an ongoing war of allegations, in which definitive facts are yet to  determined.

Washington spoke to reporters Tuesday in Baton Rouge about her side of the story.

"After that evil man resigned, I told the governor's office I wanted to keep my job and my family needed our insurance. The governor said no," Washington said.

Edwards said that's not how it happened.

Eric Holl, the spokesman for the governor’s reelection campaign, provided a letter of resignation from Washington. It was dated Nov. 1, 2017. That was before she reported the allegations against Anderson.

"I have chosen another career opportunity," the letter said.

Attorneys for Edwards also spoke to reporters Tuesday.

"Miss Washington was given the opportunity to withdraw her resignation and to continue her employment with our office. She declined to do that," said Tina Vanichchagorn, the governor’s deputy executive counsel.

Washington said her resignation was forced by Anderson.

She also responded to the attorney’s comments in a written statement. “Nobody from the Office of the Governor ever contacted me. They continue to be dishonest, and this was just one more opportunity to discredit me and victim shame,” the statement said.

Holl told 3 Investigates no one was able to reach out to Washington because she’d obtained an attorney.

The Edwards campaign also calls into question the timing of the allegations so close to Saturday’s election.

"What do you say to the critics that may say this is strategically timed," asked a Baton Rouge reporter.

"My story needs to be told. I just need to tell the truth," Washington replied.

When 3 Investigates asked Edwards about the ad at a groundbreaking at LSU Health Shreveport last week, he called it “misleading.”

Anderson has denied all of the allegations against him.

Truth in Politics sued the governor's office Tuesday in connection to the allegations against Anderson and the way they were handled.

The suit accuses the office of ignoring a public record request filed Aug. 8. The request sought emails, text messages and other documents, and still has not been filled.

Among the items requested were copies of all emails exchanged between Anderson’s email address and every female staffer in the governor’s office.

Holl said the request is being processed, adding that the volume of the request was unreasonable to fill in two months.


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