At least one candidate for district attorney in St. Tammany and Washington parishes is blasting current DA Walter Reed over his recent statement blaming the news media for his troubles.
Covington lawyer Roy Burns fired off a news release Thursday saying Reed’s attack on the media is a smokescreen for deeper issues.
“The obvious effort to maintain the machine politics of the past and wield the office’s authority as if it were an absolute divine right is glaring,” Burns’ statement said in part.
Burns disputed Reed’s claim that his previous silence in the face of various media inquiries was required by ethics guidelines.
“The written statement to the press doesn’t answer any questions, but only takes a defensive posture to deflect blame,” Burns said.
That posture masks a deeper issue of the “stone wall” Reed has built to “keep questions out and information in,” he added.
Burns and Alan Black, a Slidell lawyer, have announced plans to challenge Reed, a five-term district attorney who hasn’t faced an opponent since 1996. Other potential candidates, including state District Judge Raymond Childress and St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Brian Trainor, have said they are considering a run, but none has made an announcement.
Reed has not confirmed his own candidacy yet, but he did file a campaign finance report in May. His spokesman, Rick Wood, told the Slidell Independent on Tuesday that Reed was not ready to go public with his decision about running.
In Reed’s Wednesday statement, he said Wood speaks only for the District Attorney’s Office and not for Reed’s campaign.
Morgan Stewart, a public relations consultant who Reed said in his statement will handle questions about his campaign and his private business practices, said Reed is focused on running the DA’s office for now. “When he turns his attention to the race, he’ll let the media and public know,” Stewart said.
Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly listed Roy Burns as being based in Slidell. He is based in Covington.
Follow Faimon A. Roberts III on Twitter, @faimon.