NO.REED.022719.0002.JPG (copy) (copy)

Walter Reed, the former district attorney for St. Tammany and Washington parishes, leaves the Hale Boggs Federal Building and United States Courthouse after he was ordered to report to prison by April 1. 

Former north shore District Attorney Walter Reed, who said in February that his bag was packed to go to prison, will finally report to the federal prison in Morgantown, West Virginia, on Friday to begin his four-year sentence.

Reed's latest request for a delay was denied Wednesday by U.S. District Judge Eldon Fallon, meaning Reed will head to prison three years after he was convicted on 18 fraud and corruption counts.

"The court has already granted Reed two extensions of (his reporting) date, and it is time for Reed to begin serving the sentence imposed over two years ago," Fallon wrote in his order.

The U.S. Attorney's Office opposed Reed's most recent request for a delay.

"The court previously indicated that the most recent continuance would be the last, regardless of any last-minute issues or health developments," U.S. Attorney Peter Strasser said in a court filing issued last week. "Reed should begin serving his debt to society now."

Reed's attorney said Wednesday that Reed would report at noon Friday to the Morgantown prison, a minimum-security facility with 871 inmates, according to the Bureau of Prisons website.

The government's filing outlined the lengthy road between Reed's indictment on corruption charges in May 2015 and the order for him to report to prison this week, a road that has included three requests for a delay in beginning his sentence.

Reed was supposed to report April 1, but he asked for a two-week extension for a medical procedure, then sought another delay because it was discovered that he had prostate cancer.

He had surgery on April 17 and then sought a 30-day extension for recovery. The government didn't object to that, "provided there is not further request for extensions for medical treatment."

But Reed did ask again, saying that his cancer required radiation treatment. He sought either 30 days of house arrest or a month's delay in reporting and also raised the possibility that he might seek for medical reasons to be assigned to a different facility, a change that couldn't be made by May 17.

The government argued that Reed avoided serving his sentence for years because Fallon allowed him to remain free on bond while appealing his conviction. His medical condition meant he got three additional months to get his affairs in order, Strasser's motion said.

"This afforded Reed the opportunity to benefit from continuity of care through the most sensitive diagnostic and surgical periods. Those periods have now ended, and so too should Reed's reprieve," prosecutors argued.

Reed's attorney, Richard Simmons, said the defense had been diligent in its efforts to determine if Reed could obtain radiation treatment at the Morgantown prison, citing 16 phone calls to obtain information.

Reed's team learned that there are two hospitals in the area that can provide such treatment but didn't get that answer until May 10. "Lack of radiation treatment is a major concern of the defendant," Simmons wrote.

Reed still wanted a little more time — seven to 10 days — to "allow gathering of pertinent medical information and communication of that information to the facility," his most recent filing said. That was denied, and Simmons said those documents are being gathered and sent.

Reed was district attorney of the 22nd Judicial District, covering St. Tammany and Washington parishes, for 30 years before deciding not to run for re-election in 2014 as a federal probe began closing in.

He was convicted on 18 of 19 corruption and fraud charges stemming from his personal use of campaign contributions and his taking of money from St. Tammany Parish Hospital that was meant for his office.

Walter Reed ordered to prison by April 1 on fraud and corruption counts

He mounted a vigorous defense, and his attorney recently filed writs with the U.S. Supreme Court challenging his conviction.

Fallon had agreed to allow Reed to remain free on bond while he exhausted his appeals, but a three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld his conviction in November, and his bid for a rehearing before the full court was refused.

That prompted the U.S. attorney to request that Reed begin serving his sentence immediately, and Fallon agreed in late February.

Staff writer Faimon A. Roberts III contributed to this report.


Follow Sara Pagones on Twitter, @spagonesadvocat.