Appellate Circuit

Familiar Faces; Judge Leslie Southwick and Judge Catharina Haynes and Dubious 5th Circuit Opinions (with Dissent)

Reggie is the son of the late Crowley City Court Judge Edmund Reggie and a brother-in-law of the late U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy. Reggie worked on the campaigns of President Bill Clinton and other high-profile Democrats. Edmund Reggie headed John F. Kennedy’s presidential campaign in Louisiana and was Gov. Edwin Edwards’ executive counsel during Edwards’ second term in office.

Ted Kennedy brother-in-law wins 5th Circuit court victory overturning Bank Fraud Charges and it’s a familiar duo on the Panel

Take a look at his picture, does he look like he’s suffering from a stroke and unable to speak?

May 27, 2016

Reggie is the son of the late Crowley City Court Judge Edmund Reggie and a brother-in-law of the late U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy. Reggie worked on the campaigns of President Bill Clinton and other high-profile Democrats. Edmund Reggie headed John F. Kennedy’s presidential campaign in Louisiana and was Gov. Edwin Edwards’ executive counsel during Edwards’ second term in office.

A politically connected Louisiana media consultant who’s a brother-in-law of the late Senator Edward Kennedy scored a unusual legal victory Friday, prevailing in an appeal seeking to withdraw five guilty pleas offered in a fraud case in 2014.

A panel of the 5th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals voted, 2-1, to allow Ray Reggie to withdraw the pleas he said he offered under duress because he was recovering from a stroke. Reggie submitted the pleas after being denied a request for a trial continuance on account of his medical issues.

5th Circuit Judge Catharina Haynes said U.S. District Court Judge Shelly Dick failed to explore whether Reggie’s guilty pleas were voluntary and ignored other important aspects of the traditional plea procedure.

“The court acknowledged that Reggie was having difficulty speaking and that his speech was slow. It then went through a plea colloquy with Reggie. However, the court failed to specifically ask Reggie about the voluntariness of his plea. It also did not inform Reggie about his right to counsel, his privilege against self-incrimination, his right to testify and present evidence at trial, and his right to compel the attendance of witnesses” Haynes wrote in an opinion joined by Judge Leslie Southwick.

Reggie is currently serving the 11-year sentence Dick imposed in the case, involving alleged fraud in placing advertisements for an auto dealership. He’s currently in a Fort Worth, Texas prison, but could be released soon if the appeals court ruling remains in place.

The majority opinion quoted a portion of the plea proceeding where Reggie appeared confused and offered somewhat garbled answers to basic questions.

“In this fraud case involving advertising expenses (where numbers are important), Reggie’s inability to communicate effectively as a result of his stroke was made apparent during his plea hearing,” Haynes added. “When asked what the current date was, Reggie responded ‘October, two seven;’ when asked what year it was, he responded ‘one four’; when asked how old he was, Reggie responded ‘five three’; and when asked what year he was born, Reggie stated ‘six one.’ When the district court inquired as to whether Reggie was able to attend to his own finances, Reggie, a college-educated man, responded with ‘I only have my left-hand to push.'”

The majority also suggested it was possible Dick might have inappropriately pressured Reggie to plead guilty.

5th Circuit Judge Carolyn King dissented, writing that the majority exaggerated the import of “a few awkward statements” by Reggie and that the appeals court should have deferred to Dick’s conclusion that the plea was voluntary.

“The medical evidence that the court did have about Reggie’s condition showed ‘only minimal restrictions [on his] daily activities,'” King wrote. “Reggie’s answers did not demonstrate that he was pleading involuntarily or that he was unable to comprehend or testify at the proceeding. Reggie answered questions regarding his background, explained the charges against him, responded negatively when asked if his medications interfered with his ability to understand the proceedings, and responded affirmatively when asked if he could manage his financial affairs.”

“I would conclude that the district court’s failure to specifically ask Reggie in haec verba [in precisely those words] about voluntariness was harmless,” King added.

If the government chooses not to try to appeal the decision to an en banc panel of the 5th Circuit or the Supreme Court, Reggie’s convictions and sentence will be overturned and the case will be returned to the district court for trial or a new plea.

In the late 1990s, Reggie was close to President Bill Clinton, First Lady Hillary Clinton and Vice President Al Gore. The consultant, who is a brother of Kennedy’s second wife Victoria Reggie Kennedy, also served as a major fundraiser for Gore’s presidential bid in 2000.

Reggie slipped into the world of scandal in the last decade, when he came under investigation for an unrelated case of bank fraud and agreed to work as an informant for the FBI. He eventually wore a wire in conversations with several political operatives, including the national finance director of Hillary Clinton’s 2000 Senate bid, David Rosen.

Rosen was indicted in 2003 on charges that he caused the filing of false campaign finance reports by dramatically understating the expenses and in-kind contributions for a Hollywood gala fundraiser benefiting Clinton’s Senate campaign. Appearing as a prosecution witness at Rosen’s trial, Reggie testified that Rosen was aware of massive last-minute expenses for the gala. However, a jury acquitted Rosen on all counts.

Because of his cooperation with the feds, Reggie received a relatively light one-year sentence on the bank fraud case a decade ago.

Reggie is just one of four individuals who helped organize the 2000 gala who either had felony records at the time of the event or would later be convicted of felonies for acts they committed prior to the gala.

Haynes and Southwick are appointees of President George W. Bush. King is an appointee of President Jimmy Carter. Dick was appointed by President Barack Obama.

BARKSDALE

SOUTHWICK

HAYNES

Raymond Reggie, politically connected Mandeville businessman, pleads guilty to federal fraud charge

APR 23, 2019 – 4:00 PM

Once accused in a multicount $1.2 million fraud and money-laundering scheme, politically connected Mandeville businessman Raymond Reggie pleaded guilty Tuesday in Baton Rouge federal court to a single wire fraud count that alleges just over $14,000 in fraudulent conduct.

The long-running case involved Reggie billing a group of south Louisiana automobile dealerships — Super Chevy Dealers of Baton Rouge and Slidell-based Supreme Automotive Group — for advertising purchases he never made.

Reggie, who was scheduled to stand trial next week, previously pleaded guilty in the same case in 2014 to five counts of mail fraud and was later sentenced by U.S. District Judge Shelly Dick to more than 11 years in prison and ordered to make $1.2 million in restitution.

But a New Orleans federal appeals court tossed out the plea and sentence in 2016 because Reggie argued he was impaired by a stroke when he entered his guilty plea. Dick recused herself after that ruling.

Reggie’s plea Tuesday makes him a two-time convicted felon. He pleaded guilty in 2005 and was sentenced to a year in prison for bank frauds in the New Orleans area.

U.S. District Judge John deGravelles did not set a sentencing date Tuesday, but a plea agreement with prosecutors calls for the 57-year-old Reggie to be put on supervised release for three years, with the first two years of that to be home detention. The judge could reject the agreement, which would allow Reggie to withdraw his guilty plea.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Rene Salomon told the judge that Reggie faces up to 20 years in federal prison, but the time Reggie already served following his prior guilty plea in the case — nearly a year — is an appropriate sentence.

“We’re just glad to get this over with. Ray just wants to move on with his life,” his attorney, John McLindon, said outside the federal courthouse. Reggie was indicted in the case back in 2013.

He already has paid $82,000 in restitution as part of the plea agreement. The restitution represents the amount of fraud alleged in the five wire fraud counts contained in a superseding indictment, even though he pleaded guilty to only one of those counts. The superseding indictment did not include the money-laundering counts that were contained in the original indictment.

Reggie was accused of billing Super Chevy Dealers of Baton Rouge and Supreme Automotive Group more than $1.2 million for advertising purchases he never made as a media consultant between 2008 and 2012.

Reggie stated previously in court that he had a “nontraditional pay arrangement” with the dealerships and didn’t steal anything from them, saying he was “100 percent not guilty.”

At the 2015 sentencing in the case, Salomon called Reggie a “serial fraudster” and “flim-flam con artist.”

Reggie is the son of the late Crowley City Court Judge Edmund Reggie and a brother-in-law of the late U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy. Reggie worked on the campaigns of President Bill Clinton and other high-profile Democrats. Edmund Reggie headed John F. Kennedy’s presidential campaign in Louisiana and was Gov. Edwin Edwards’ executive counsel during Edwards’ second term in office.

The elder Reggie was convicted in the latter part of his life of misapplying funds of the now-closed Acadia Savings & Loan of Crowley, a bank he founded in the late 1950s.

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  1. Pingback: Fifth Circuit Deny Homeowners Motion to Stay in Burke v Ocwen Case, Despite US Supreme Court Selia Law Case | Laws In Texas

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