NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Attorneys will go to federal court Monday to begin selecting jurors in the corruption trial of former St. Tammany District Attorney Walter Reed and his son. Reed is accused of defrauding citizens by devising several schemes as outlined in a 30-page indictment.
For 30 years he prosecuted defendants in St. Tammany Parish, a venue that became known as "St. Slammany" due to a propensity to convict.
"You were guilty if Walter Reed said you were guilty," said Rick Franzo with Concerned Citizens of St Tammany.
But on Monday, Reed will find himself in the defense chair. The feds will prosecute 18 counts against him outlined in an indictment that came down last year after investigations launched by FOX 8 and the Concerned Citizens of St Tammany.
"It's interesting how this all evolved with Walter Reed," Franzo said.
Reed is accused of converting thousands of dollars in campaign money for his and his son Steven's personal use.
"The indictment is merely allegation on a piece of paper," Reed attorney Rick Simmons said last April.
The feds say Reed's campaign fund paid out thousands of dollars to companies owned by Reed's son, "Globop" and "Liquid Bread."
The indictment also accuses Reed of profiting from legal services contracts with St. Tammany Hospital, as outlined in a Lee Zurik report last year. During extensive pretrial motions and hearings, Reed's attorneys tried to get the trial moved out of New Orleans, but last week, Judge Eldon Fallon said no.
"Less and less are we seeing changes of venue, especially in federal court," said FOX 8 legal analyst Joseph Raspanti.
Red has pleaded not guilty to the charges. Jury selection will likely take several days. If convicted on all counts, Reed could face up to 277 years in prison and be forced to pay $4.5 million in fines.