At least ten people in District Attorney Walter Reed’s office have received a subpoena to appear before a federal grand jury investigating Reed, sources confirmed to NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune and WVUE Fox 8 News.
One source said that appearance would take place later this month – possibly next week.
The subpoenas come a week after news of the federal criminal investigation into Reed.
The news organizations reported last week that the Castine Center, a Mandeville venue where Reed held a Sept. 22, 2012, fundraiser, was subpoenaed in May to provide documents related to Reed and his son, Steven Reed, dating back to January 2008.
BY Faimon A. Roberts III
Since 2011, Walter Reed, the district attorney for St. Tammany and Washington parishes, has recused his office from several dozen criminal prosecutions. In nearly every one of those cases, Reed said his office’s recusal was aimed at ensuring “the orderly and fair administration of justice and to avoid a conflict through the appearance of impropriety.”
In his motions to recuse, Reed cited Article 680 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, which enumerates the three grounds on which a district attorney should recuse himself: when the DA has a “personal interest in the cause or grand jury proceeding which is in conflict with fair and impartial administration of justice”; when the DA “is related to the party accused or party injured,” or to the spouse of either; or when the DA has represented or consulted in the case for the defendant before becoming district attorney.
In the cases from which Reed removed himself and his office, the defendants are often people he knows intimately or relatives of people who work for him.
But when Reed’s own business partner and tenant, Yancie Moseley III, got arrested for DWI in January 2012, the district attorney did not recuse his office, a decision that one legal expert called “a serious problem of conflict of interest.”
However, there’s no evidence in the record that Moseley, who eventually pleaded guilty and got his conviction expunged, got any special treatment as a result of his relationship with the district attorney.
Rafael Goyeneche, president of the Metropolitan Crime Commission, said that even though Moseley might have gotten the same deal if Reed had recused himself, “here it is a business partner of Walter Reed’s who is charged. I still believe he does have a duty to recuse his office to avoid a potential conflict, to avoid the appearance of impropriety.”