Zurik: Feds subpoena FOX 8 in Walter Reed probe

Zurik: Feds subpoena FOX 8 in Walter Reed probe

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Federal prosecutors dropped off a federal grand jury subpoena to FOX 8 News for their investigation into former St. Tammany Parish District Attorney Walter Reed. Prosecutors want a copy of a newscast and one of many stories we did on Walter Reed, all part of our “Louisiana Purchased” series with NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune.

The subpoena asks for a copy of a story from May 7, 2014. It involves a campaign fundraiser Walter Reed hosted in 2012 in which he paid his son Steven's company, Liquid Bread, close to $30,000 to provide bar services.

Walter Reed held that 2012 fundraiser at the Castine Center in Mandeville. That May 7 story showed the center's folder on the event, in which they detail and document the caterer, the band, the production companies and even the bartenders.

Even though Steven Reed's company was paid $29,400 for bar services, he's not listed once in the folder.

What came at the end of that May 7 story could prove to be important. It shows different stories, different explanations from Walter Reed and his son. Remember: The major question for us was what Steven Reed did to earn this campaign money

He told us he didn't purchase the alcohol, but was paid for the bar set-up services. On May 7, Walter Reed told us in a statement that his son "misunderstood your original inquiry and he indicated to me he did not purchase the liquor for the function, but used the inventory from his closed business to provide the services and supplies."

On May 7, after showing the DA's statement, we showed Steven's response to us on Facebook from the prior week. Steven wrote, "LB was hired to provide the bar setups and services, not the alcohol itself."

We asked again what bar set-up service means and he responded, "Basically, everything needed to operate an open bar, except the alcohol. (No purchase or transportation of beer, wine, or liquor)."

Again, Steven Reed says he didn't purchase or supply the alcohol; his father said he did.

FOX 8 legal analyst Joe Raspanti says the newscast could help prosecutors tell their story to a grand jury.

"It adds context to what they're doing," Raspanti says.

The FBI's investigation heated up last May, shortly after our stories aired on TV and appeared in the Times-Picayune.

"It seems as if the prosecution is getting their ducks in a row, at least to the extent to get things together to present to the grand jury," Raspanti tells us.

He says it's hard to isolate what prosecutors want from the newscast, but the different story by Reed and his son could be a possibility.

"It's about money," Raspanti says. "Usually by the end of the day, that's what it's always about. Here it appears there is a conflict in what they're saying, as to how the money was spent or not spent."

Regardless, the subpoena shows the probe into Walter Reed is still going on and at least part of it centers on how he spent campaign money.

A copy of the May 7 newscast must be delivered by 9:00 AM Thursday, March 5.

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