Former federal prosecutor says Walter Reed conviction sends a clear message

Will Walter Reed verdict change behaviour?

Despite a jury finding him guilty of 18 out of 19 corruption charges Monday evening, Walter Reed vowed that his day in court wasn't over.

"It ain't over till the fat lady sings, so ah, we're gonna go over next door to the Fifth Circuit," Reed said.

"The statistics are against Mr. Reed at this point," said former federal prosecutor Matt Coman.

Coman was a lead prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney's Office, but now works in private practice.

"The statistics are somewhere less than two or three percent of success rate at the court of appeals," he said.

While working under Jim Letten, Coman handled his fair share of corruption cases, including helping to put former Mayor Ray Nagin behind bars. Coman said Reed's case, where he used campaign money for things like flowers and pricey meals and even funneled money to his son, Steven, should serve as a major warning flag to other politicians.

"It's a clear message that the federal authorities are mindful of these type of violations, as well as now the public is mindful of the distinction between private funds, personal funds and campaign funds," Coman said.

Reed also diverted payments from St. Tammany Parish Hospital to his personal bank account, money that was for work performed by the district attorney's office.

St. Tammany Parish President Pat Brister describes Reed's conviction as a fresh start for the parish.

"We are happy to have this over, put it behind us and move on," Brister said.

Residents there had to live through not only Reed's trial and conviction, but former coroner Peter Galvan's corruption case and subsequent guilty plea, as well.

"It does bring finality just as the other cases that we've had in St. Tammany. We think this is the end of it and we can move forward now," Brister said.

Galvan is serving two years in prison. Walter and Steven Reed will be sentenced for their crimes on Sept. 15.

Coman predicts that Walter Reed will be sentenced to somewhere between five to 10 years in prison. Steven Reed was only convicted on three counts and is expected to serve far less time.

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