Prosecutors say Walter Reed and son exploited position for personal gain

Reed Trial: Day 1

ST. TAMMANY PARISH, LA (WVUE) - Walter Reed's defense attorney says many of the allegations against him are just his mistakes, not criminal wrongdoing. The comments came on day one of Reed's corruption trial, after a Lee Zurik investigation uncovered serious misuse of campaign funds.

Walter Reed remained positive walking out of federal court Monday afternoon saying, "I think everything's fine."

The former St. Tammany and Washington Parish D.A. is on trial for conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud, money laundering and making false statements on his tax return.

During his opening statement, assistant U.S. Attorney Jordan Ginsberg said, "Year in and year out, Walter continued to spend campaign money on personal expenses."

The feds say those expenses include flowers for women he found attractive and expensive dinners for friends and family. In one instance, Reed allegedly spent about $1,500 in campaign funds on a dinner for coaches and student athletes at St. Paul's High School.

Reed's attorney, Rick Simmons, responded in his opening statement, saying, "In Louisiana you better be interested in high school, high school scholastics, that's part of holding public office."

Simmons repeatedly told jurors, Reed used campaign money for various dinners and expenses because he was catering to supporters. He also told them Reed thought what he was doing was legal and admits, Reed may have made mistakes.

FOX 8 legal analyst Joseph Raspanti comments, "We're all supposed to know the law, from criminal defense attorneys to the common citizen, you're supposed to know what the rules of the game are, if you're playing in that game."

Also on trial is Reed's son, Steven, who prosecutors say was overpaid for work allegedly performed on behalf of the Reed campaign. At one point, Steven Reed allegedly received $14,000 for a one minute long PSA he produced on his father.

"The defense wanted to sever this trial, they wanted to take the son out of it, separate from the father. Whenever you have multiple defendants, its makes it harder for the defense because he's getting smeared with your stuff and you're getting smeared with his stuff," Raspanti said.

But prosecutors wanted both Reeds tried together. Steven Reed's attorney, Glenn Burns, on Monday, called his client collateral damage from the feds investigation of Walter Reed.

The jury, seated Monday morning, is made up of six men and six women. Tuesday morning, at 8:30, the prosecution will call it's first witness.

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