NEW ORLEANS -- Famed New Orleans trumpeter Irvin Mayfield and his business partner Ronald Markham have pleaded not guilty to 19 federal charges, including wire fraud and money laundering.
Mayfield and Markham appeared in federal court downtown New Orleans Thursday afternoon. It was their first court appearance since a grand jury indicted the two Dec. 14.
They were both given $25,000 unsecured bonds. Mayfield, a Grammy-award winner, has a court-appointed attorney.
The charges -- which include conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, wire fraud, mail fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, money laundering, and obstruction of justice -- are related to their business operations with the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra and the New Orleans Public Library Foundation.
Mayfield's attorney, Claude J. Kelly, told reporters outside the courthouse that he has filed a motion to dismiss all charges against Mayfield and alleged prosecutorial misconduct by the U.S. Attorney's Office. He accused the federal prosecutor's office of leaking grand jury documents to WWL-TV investigative reporter David Hammer.
"He is not guilty," Kelly said. "No New Orleanian has done more since Katrina to help bring this city back. Irvin Mayfield is an artist. He had a creative vision of where this city should go ... This is such a miscarriage of justice, from Day 1 of this. It's the tip of the iceberg. This indictment ... is tainted from the outset."
Mayfield founded the NOJO and served as the artistic director and featured performer, while Markham was the orchestra’s president and CFO.
The two reportedly turned to the New Orleans Public Library Foundation for funding after the city financing through the Edward Wisner Donation was cut off in February 2011, court records state.
Mayfield became a NOPLF board member in 2006, while Markham joined as a board member in 2009.
The pair allegedly funneled about $1.4 million directly from the NOPLF to NOJO.
Their trials are set for March 12, 2018.