Embattled DA Walter Reed won't seek re-election
COVINGTON, La. (AP) — Walter Reed, the district attorney for St. Tammany and Washington parishes, said Tuesday he will not seek re-election in November.
Reed, who is under federal investigation involving his campaign spending and legal representation of St. Tammany Parish Hospital, told staff members of his decision to leave at the end of his fifth, six-year term. He's held the post for 30 years.
"More than words can ever express, I am honored to have served as your chief criminal prosecutor," Reed said in a statement to his constituents.
NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune reports (http://bit.ly/1jNgNUa ) Reed had held the seat for the 22nd Judicial District since 1984, when he beat incumbent Marion Farmer and had not had an opponent since beating former U.S. Attorney John Volz in 1996.
So far, three candidates have announced they will run for the seat: Slidell attorney Alan Black, Covington attorney Roy Burns Jr. and Brian Trainor, a former assistant district attorney and current chief deputy of the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office.
Qualifying opens next month.
NOLA.com ' The Times-Picayune and WVUE Fox 8 News have examined Reed's campaign expenses and personal finances in recent months as part of their "Louisiana Purchased" series on money and politics in Louisiana. The news organizations in June revealed that Reed was the subject of a federal investigation, as a grand jury subpoena dated May 5 showed investigators wanted documents from the Castine Center related to Reed and his son, Steven Reed. The district attorney held fundraising events at the venue.
Reed's relationship with St. Tammany Parish Hospital in Covington has also come under media scrutiny. Reed in May resigned his post as outside counsel for the publicly-owned hospital, a job that paid him $30,000 annually.
In a statement, Reed blamed much of his decision to leave on the media.
"The New Orleans news media has repeatedly cast me, my dedicated staff, friends and even my family in a different and harsher light, making an endless series of allegations regarding my character, and creating unwarranted and obtrusive disruptions in the function of my office," Reed said.
"These allegations have run the gamut, from accusing me of being too tough on crime and too insistent on getting criminal convictions to how I spend my private campaign donations, to my brother's employment at the parish hospital, proving nothing it seems but alleging everything under the sun. ... In recognition of these facts, I have notified my key supporters that at this moment, I do not intend to qualify for re-election as District Attorney."
Reed thanked his staff and said throughout the rest of his term he would continue to put the people of St. Tammany and Washington parishes first, "regardless of whether or not doing so comports with media efforts to monopolize my time and energies elsewhere."