Embattled New Orleans jazzman Irvin Mayfield and his sidekick Ronald Markham are asking a federal judge to change the conditions of their bail so they can play at a festival in South Africa.

In a motion filed Friday, Mayfield and Markham asked U.S. District Judge Jay Zainey to let them travel to South Africa for 10 days to perform at the Soweto International Jazz Festival in June. Both have been barred from leaving the country since their indictment on fraud and money laundering charges in December.

Prosecutors allege that Mayfield, a trumpeter, and Markham, a pianist, stole almost $1.4 million from the New Orleans Public Library Foundation, where they sat as board members between 2011 and 2013.

A magistrate judge set a Tuesday hearing to consider the motion, which is opposed by prosecutors. A federal probation service agent has voiced no objection to the international travel.

Mayfield would receive a $7,500 fee, round-trip airfare for four people, a hotel and a $50 per diem as part of his contract with the festival. It’s unclear whether that money would be split with Markham.

The joint motion claims the jaunt abroad will bolster both the men’s finances and the city’s international image.

“Although the compensation for their performance will not be vast, it will certainly help Mr. Mayfield to continue to provide for his three minor children and Mr. Markham for his family,” the men’s lawyers said. “In addition, the commercial benefit, like all of the defendants’ previous work around the country, results in immeasurable commercial benefit to the city of New Orleans.”

Mayfield has claimed to have an income of about $800 a month. He is being represented by a federal public defender.

Zainey pushed the trial date for the men's case back to Oct. 22.

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msledge@theadvocate.com | (504) 636-7432