The FBI has requested video recordings from The Chimes restaurant and dash-cam videos from police cruisers in connection with an Aug. 10 incident in which Richard Reed, brother of 22nd Judicial District Attorney Walter Reed, was pulled over with a drunk woman in his car and then flashed an honorary investigator badge from the DA’s Office in an effort to prevent officers from talking to the woman.
Eight days after the incident, Richard Reed was arrested and booked on a count of sexual battery. Police originally issued the woman a summons for public intoxication, but that charge was dismissed when Reed was arrested.
After Reed was arrested, Covington Police Chief Tim Lentz said security camera footage from inside The Chimes showed the woman was “extremely intoxicated” and that Reed groped her “more than once.”
Lentz said the FBI called him the day after the incident seeking the tapes, but he declined to provide any more details about the conversation.
Lentz said he also turned over the evidence to two prosecutors from Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell’s office, which will be handling prosecution of Richard Reed because Walter Reed has said he will recuse his office from the matter.
It’s unclear what the FBI’s interest in the case is. But federal authorities have opened a grand jury investigation into Walter Reed and his office, and it is possible the FBI is trying to determine whether Richard Reed’s use of the honorary badge he was issued violated any federal laws.
This latest arrest caps a turbulent couple of months for Richard Reed, who resigned from his job at St. Tammany Parish Hospital in June. Shortly after he left, emails leaked to WVUE-TV and nola.com showed that hospital officials may have created a full-time position for Richard Reed even as they paid Walter Reed $30,000 per year for legal advice.
Walter Reed’s arrangement with the hospital has come under close scrutiny as Reed and hospital officials have offered differing accounts of the nature of his representation. Reed has insisted he was hired to represent the hospital as a private attorney, but hospital officials have said they believed Walter Reed was providing advice — for which there were no contracts or invoices — in his role as the district attorney.
Walter Reed, rather than the office, received the entirety of the $30,000 annual retainer. Occasionally, when Walter Reed couldn’t attend a meeting, Assistant District Attorney Leo Hemelt attended in his stead.
Walter Reed has not said whether he paid Hemelt for his services in those instances. Hemelt is among the employees of the District Attorney’s Office who have been subpoenaed to testify before the grand jury.
Editor’s note: This story was changed Aug. 25 to reflect that Richard Reed had resigned from St. Tammany Parish Hospital before the emails were leaked.