NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) - Former St. Tammany and Washington parishes district attorney Walter Reed could receive a 277-year prison sentence if convicted on all of the federal charges he now faces.
United States Attorney Kenneth Polite made the announcement Thursday afternoon.
"Another month, another public official being charged with violating the public trust," Polite said early in his comments on Thursday.
On Thursday, a federal grand jury handed up an 18-count indictment against Reed and his son, Steven.
According to the indictment, Reed used campaign donations to pay for a list of personal expenses including dinners, birthday parties and flowers. In some of the expenditures, the money was paid to his son for services that were either never performed or were provided but for a value far below the amount spent, according to United States Attorney Kenneth Polite.
In one case, prosecutors allege campaign money was paid more than $8,300 to Steven Reed's company Globop to produce a house-warming party at Walter Reed's new condominium. In another case, prosecutors say another one of Steven Reed's businesses was paid more than $29,000 for catering or bar services that were never provided for a campaign event.
Prosecutors also say the 68-year-old Walter Reed used campaign money to buy flowers with the accompanying note, "To my rodeo girl from a secret admirer from Camp J," as well as nearly $1,900 for a Thanksgiving dinner for Reed and approximately ten of his family members.
Another part of the indictment involves Walter Reed's work providing legal services for St. Tammany Parish Hospital. According to prosecutors, Reed provided the service through the district attorney's office. But they say Reed deposited the money in his personal bank account. They also say that Reed would sometimes send other employees of the district attorney's office to represent him at hospital meetings.
Walter Reed's attorney Rick Simmons responded at a 5 p.m. press conference. Watch some of his response below:
Simmons told the media all of Walter Reed's campaign expenditures were appropriate. He said details on those expenditures will be revealed at trial. Simmons also responded to prosecutors' claim that Reed deposited checks from the hospital agreement in his personal account. Simmons said the arrangement was personal and did not involve Reed's capacity as DA. Simmons provided documents he says prove Reed provided the work outside of his scope as DA and made the appropriate and related personal financial disclosures.
"The indictment is mainly an allegation on a piece of paper," Simmons said. "Every piece of paper has two sides."