Reed defends questionable spending while on witness stand

Reed defends questionable spending while on witness stand

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Former St. Tammany and Washington Parish District Attorney Walter Reed took the stand in his own defense in his federal corruption trial Friday.

Reed is giving wide ranging testimony about why he used campaign funds to buy flowers, meals, and gift cards and why he son was paid for a campaign event.

He is accused of spending a $100,000 in campaign funds for personal expenses as well as making false statements on his tax returns, among other alleged crimes.

In a folksy style, he testified about how he bought a big meal for constituents and flowers for supporters for political expediency, painting himself as someone always in campaign mode.

Reed admitted to the jury he should have paid for flowers to a woman who did not live in the parishes he served.

He talked about using campaign funds for a big meal for Pentecostal preachers after a camp meeting. But after the meal one of the preachers asked him to do legal work for a  church member, so Reed sought reimbursement from his law firm, but did not put the money back into the campaign fund.

"I meant to put that back, folks," Reed said. "Time went on, I did not put that back. I should have and I was wrong for that."

Reed said he later wrote a check, before he was indicted in this case.

Reed also said when he paid over $500,000 in taxes for 2009-2012. He thought he paid all he owed.

The feds claim he owes $40,000. He said he wished they had come and talked to him, instead of indicting him.

About hiring his son for campaign function, he said that happened because someone backed out.

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