NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - A federal judge on Thursday set a $25,000 bond for New Orleans jazz trumpeter Irvin Mayfield, who, along with his business partner, was indicted for allegedly stealing more than $1 million of public funds.
If convicted, Mayfield and Ronald Markham face five to 20 years in prison. Last year, a federal grand jury indicted the pair on 19 counts, including money laundering and wire fraud.
In Federal Court Thursday, both pleaded not guilty.
The federal grand jury indictment accuses the two men of funneling more than $1 million from the New Orleans Public Library Foundation to the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra. The men are accused of spending tens of thousands of dollars on hotel stays in New York and purchasing a 24-karat gold-plated trumpet for $15,000. The indictment says Mayfield in Markham also used that money to pay themselves a $100,000 annual salary.
Mayfield's attorney says he is trying to get the entire indictment dismissed due to information he says has been leaked to the media.
"It's the tip of the iceberg though," said attorney Claude Kelly. "This indictment, this prosecution is tainted from the outset here. It's a miscarriage of justice that no citizen - much less someone like Irvin Mayfield who has devoted his whole life since Katrina to this city - deserves."
Kelly did not talk about the charges his client faces.
"I've always known Irvin to be an ambassador for the city, putting the city in a good light, and it's really unfortunate to see him in this particular situation," criminal defense attorney Bobby Hjortsberg said.
Hjortsberg attended the arraignment. He believes it will be difficult for Kelly to have the the charges against his client dismissed.
"Anytime you're in federal court it's very serious. [Mayfield] can expect a long battle going forward," Hjortsberg said. "When you're taking money from people and you're supposed to be using it for the library and then you're using it for what they allege personal gain. That's obviously not what it was intended for and that's a criminal act."
A pretrial conference is set for February, and the initial court date for the case is March 12.