Attorney implies charges against former DA inflated

Published 8:08 am Monday, April 27, 2015

Former Washington and St. Tammany parishes District Attorney Walter Reed, along with his son, Steven Reed, was indicted by a New Orleans grand jury this week on a number of charges, many of which relate to financial improprieties that occurred while he was in office.

Among the charges are several that allege Reed misused campaign funds to pay for personal expenses, including parties and dinners with friends and family members. Other charges include disputes over income received from his work for St. Tammany Parish Hospital.

Last year, Reed became the focus of a seemingly ever-widening range of charges and complaints, and shortly after many of them came to light, Reed announced he would not seek re-election to the District Attorney’s Office, an office he helmed for 20 years.

His successor, Warren Montgomery, issued on Thursday the following statement regarding the indictment: “The best for our community and my prayer is that he have a speedy and fair trial by an impartial jury. In the meantime, we are continuing to prosecute cases. We had a guilty verdict last week and another today, and we will continue to be about the people’s business.”

Reed’s attorney, Rick Simmons, has countered the allegations, claiming that the charges really amount to little more than a “tax case” and that Reed has paid 90 percent of the taxes owed to the IRS during the period in question.

“The bottom line is this case should be, at best, a civil tax case, not a criminal prosecution,” Simmons said in his statement.

He concluded his statement with the following: “We ask the public not to form any opinions based on the mere fact an indictment was returned or on media reports and allow this case to be resolved in the courts where all the evidence will unfold.”