AP NEWS

Prosecutors want judge to order ex-DA to go to prison

February 5, 2019

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Prosecutors want a judge to reconsider a decision allowing a former New Orleans area prosecutor to remain free until he has exhausted his appeals, now that a federal appeals court refused to rehear the matter.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jordan Ginsberg asked U.S. District Court Judge Eldon Fallon in a Monday filing to set a date for Walter Reed to start serving his four-year sentence on corruption charges, news outlets reported. A hearing on the matter is set for Feb. 26.

The former district attorney for St. Tammany and Washington parishes for 30 years was convicted in 2016 of several offenses, including 18 counts of mail fraud and wire fraud. He was sentenced to four years in prison but allowed to remain free on bond until he exhausted his appeals. Reed’s son was found guilty of conspiracy, wire fraud and money laundering. He was sentenced to five years of probation.

Much of the case against Reed focused on his use of campaign funds. Prosecutors accused him of illegally spending more than $100,000 in campaign funds on personal items and failing to report that money as income on his tax returns. Reed gave his son money disguised as legitimate campaign expenses, and kept money from St. Tammany Parish Hospital for legal advice when that money should have gone to the district attorney’s office, the government said.

A motion to reconsider said a three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected Reed’s appeal on Nov. 5. The court later denied his request for a rehearing before the entire appeals court.

Reed’s attorney, Richard Simmons Jr., said he intends to petition the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case and that he will file an opposition to the motion.

Simmons said Monday that when Judge Fallon granted the appeal bond in 2017 he said the issues that were raised needed to be decided by the 5th Circuit or U.S. Supreme Court. “We’ll be fighting that issue on the 26th,” Simmons said.

However, Ginsberg said in his filing that the move is unlikely to be successful and could take at least another year regardless of the outcome.

“In thorough and clear fashion, the Fifth Circuit made its determination: There is nothing novel, untoward, or constitutionally offensive in the defendants’ prosecution or conviction, and that their prosecution under federal fraud statutes was legitimate,” the government’s court filing said.