Jerry Wayne Cox, a Franklinton pastor with ties to former north shore District Attorney Walter Reed, will not be sentenced for structuring financial transactions to avoid federal reporting requirements until after Reed’s scheduled April trial on tax and fraud charges.
Cox pleaded guilty to a single count in October and was scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 28. But in a joint motion filed in federal court Tuesday, his sentencing date was continued to no earlier than May 9.
That will give Cox the opportunity to assist prosecutors trying Reed and potentially to earn a more lenient sentence for doing so.
“The government will not be in a position to make such a (sentencing) recommendation until it is able to assess and consider his possible testimony at trial in other matters,” the motion says.
The motion also notes that if Cox is sentenced to prison, he might be sent outside New Orleans, which would mean having to pay to transport him back to the city for the trial.
Shortly after Cox pleaded guilty, federal prosecutors issued a superseding indictment against Reed, adding an additional count of wire fraud that focused on a $25,000 donation Reed made from his campaign fund to Faith Tabernacle, the Franklinton church where Cox is pastor.
Prosecutors said the money was actually a payment by Reed for a referral of private civil work that Cox steered to him.
Reed’s attorney said the money was for the church’s building fund, a charitable donation that he called perfectly legal.
The additional charge brought the number of counts alleged against the former longtime St. Tammany and Washington Parish DA to 19. It also prompted a postponement of Reed’s trial from Jan. 11 to April 18.
The motion filed Tuesday is a clear indication that Cox will take the stand in the trial of Reed, who once described Cox as “one of my best friends in life” in a Pentecostal magazine article that touted Reed’s personal-injury civil work for members of the denomination.
Attorneys for both Reed and Cox stressed that the financial structuring charge against Cox is not connected to Reed.
Cox faces a maximum of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Follow Sara Pagones on Twitter, @spagonesadvocat.