United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
ORDER & REASONS
the Court is Defendant Steven Reed's Motion for Partial
Reconsideration, requesting that the Court address his
argument that he was denied a fair trial due to the
Court's refusal to sever the hospital counts against
Walter Reed from the conspiracy counts against both Steven
Reed (“S. Reed”) and Walter Reed (“W.
Reed”). (R. Doc. 356). The Government opposes the
Motion. (R. Doc. 363). Steven Reed, upon leave of the court,
timely filed a reply. (R. Doc. 369). Having considered the
parties' briefs and applicable law, the Court now issues
this order and reasons.
1985 to January 12, 2015, W. Reed served as the District
Attorney for Louisiana's 22nd Judicial District. S. Reed
is his son. On April 23, 2015, the United States Government
filed an eighteen-count indictment charging Defendants W.
Reed and S. Reed with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and
money laundering, as well as substantive counts of wire
fraud, money laundering, false statements on income tax
returns, and mail fraud. On October 22, 2015, the Government
filed a superseding indictment (the
“Indictment”), adding an additional wire fraud
count (Count 8) against W. Reed.
gravamen of the conspiracy and wire fraud counts (Counts 1-8)
is Defendants' alleged improper personal use of campaign
funds. The jury found that W. Reed solicited campaign funds
from donors on the premise that the funds would be used to
facilitate his reelection, and then used those funds for
personal expenses unrelated to his campaign or the holding of
public office. Specifically, the wire fraud counts alleged
that, inter alia, W. Reed used campaign donations to (i)
recruit potential clients for his private legal practice,
(ii) pay off various expenses incurred by S. Reed, (iii) pay
for private and personal dinners, (iv) purchase flowers for
personal reasons, (v) overpay his son for work allegedly
performed on behalf of the Campaign, and (vi) host a
housewarming party for friends and family unrelated to the
Campaign or the holding of public office. Further, W. Reed
and S. Reed were charged with engaging in money laundering
(Counts 9 and 10) when they caused two service providers for
a campaign-related event to make payments to entities
controlled by S. Reed in a manner that would disguise the
payments as legitimate expenses when, in fact, the payments
were for the Defendants' personal benefit. S. Reed was
only charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, one count
of wire fraud (Count 7) and money laundering.
addition to the wire fraud and money laundering counts, the
Indictment also alleged that W. Reed engaged in mail fraud
when, in exchange for legal representation by the District
Attorney's office, he deposited payments made by the St.
Tammany Parish Hospital (the “Hospital”) into his
own personal bank accounts for private use. According to the
Indictment, he arranged for checks to be sent to the District
Attorney's office and then deposited them into his
personal bank account when he knew these funds were actually
intended for the Office of District Attorney. Finally, the
Indictment alleges that W. Reed underreported his income on
his tax returns for four years (Counts 11-14).
eleven-day jury trial took place from April 19-May 2, 2016.
After trial, the Jury found W. Reed guilty as to counts
one-nine and eleven-nineteen, and S. Reed guilty as to counts
one, seven, and nine. (R. Doc. 247). Both W. Reed and S. Reed
were found not guilty as to count ten. Id. Both W.
Reed and S. Reed filed motions for arrest of judgment,
acquittal, and a new trial. The Court denied their motions.
(R. Doc. 353). S. Reed then filed a Motion for
Reconsideration, arguing the Court did not adequately address
his arguments that the Court's failure to sever the
hospital counts against W. Reed from the conspiracy counts
against W. Reed and S. Reed denied S. Reed a fair trial. (R
S. Reed's Arguments
Reed's motion avers that the Court did not consider his
post-trial arguments in its Order, but instead focused its
analysis on S. Reed's pretrial misjoinder and severance
motions. (R. Doc. 356-1). S. Reed believes that the
Court's analysis is insufficient, because his post-trial
motion addressed what happened at trial while the Court only
re-addressed arguments the parties made pretrial.
cites to United States v McRae, arguing that even if
the need for severance was not clear before trial, it may yet
be made clear after all the evidence has been presented. 702
F.3d 806, 828 (5th Cir. 2012). S. Reed further argues that
because his defense relied on the testimony of W. Reed, he
was denied a fair trial when W. Reed's credibility was
impeached at trial due to testimony regarding the hospital
counts, which inarguably did not involve S. Reed. (R. Doc.
356-1 at 1-2). The Government's case against W. Reed for
the hospital counts, he argues, “necessarily undermined
his defense because it discredited the witness on whom he
relied to present his defense, ” namely, W. Reed. (R.
Doc. 356-1 at 2). But for the government's impeachment of
W. Reed, S. Reed avers he would have been exonerated. (R.
Doc. 356-1 at 2).
the Court instructed the jury that each defendant's guilt
should be considered separately and individually, S. Reed
avers that the instruction was insufficient to cure the
problem. Though he was in no way involved in the hospital
counts, the Government's successful efforts to discredit
W. Reed on those counts arguably tainted W. Reed's
testimony in support of S. Reed for the conspiracy counts.
(R. Doc. 356-1 at 2-3). S. Reed argues that the Court did not
properly address the impeachment that occurred at trial, and
requests a reconsideration of the Court's ruling on his
Government opposes S. Reed's motion, contending that S.
Reed's arguments are a distinction without a difference
and that he seeks relief from a failed trial strategy. (R.
Doc. 363 at 1). Specifically, S. Reed's choice to link
his defense to his father's testimony was a ...