Saturday, November 27, 2021

Former Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed Accused of Violating Campaign Laws

Kasim Reed

*Former Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed is reprotedly under federal investigation for allegedly using campaign funds to make personal purchases.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution took a deep dive into the matter, comparing details disclosed in a recent court ruling with Reed’scampaign disclosure reports.

Here’s more from the report:

The ruling shows prosecutors are trying to compel grand jury testimony from the attorney for a local politician’s campaign who helped produce the campaign’s financial disclosures. That person seems to be Jeremy Berry, who worked as Reed’s campaign attorney before taking the job as Atlanta’s city attorney in 2017.

The court document doesn’t name Reed or Berry, but The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has matched — to the penny — one of the questionable purchases listed in the ruling to an expense on Reed’s 2017 campaign finance report.

Attorney Scott Grubman confirmed this week that Berry was questioned by federal authorities.

“Mr. Berry received a subpoena to testify as part of the government’s ongoing investigation,” Grubman said in a statement. “Importantly, Mr. Berry has been assured numerous times, including as recently as [Tuesday] morning, by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, that he is not a subject of the investigation, but is simply a witness.”

READ MORE: Atlanta Boy Removed from Home After Abuse Video Goes Viral

According to the ruling, the alleged crime being investigated is wire fraud. Judge Barbara Lagoa said the court is taking no position “on whether the evidence proffered by the government here would be sufficient to establish guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.”

She also noted that prosecutors have “satisfied its burden of establishing a prima facie case of wire fraud … at the grand jury stage.”

The ruling cites the initial interview between the politician’s lawyer and federal investigators about campaign bank account statements and draft campaign disclosure forms that he reviewed, according to the report. Federal prosecutors wrote that the attorney said “he repeatedly saw expenditures from the campaign bank accounts that appeared to him to be obviously personal in nature, as opposed to being legitimate campaign expenditures,” according to the 11th Circuit ruling. The lawyer also said “these were not isolated incidents.”

Prosecutors allege Reed used campaign funds to make at least five personal purchases between 2011 and 2017. Per AJC, the purchases include $1,234.47 listed on a disclosure form as “office supplies.” Prosecutors also flagged $4,259 spent at a vacation resort; $2,079 in jewelry; $1,003 at a Caribbean resort; and $179 for lingerie, according to the report.

Reed spoke to Channel 2 Action News last month and made clear that he is not a criminal.

“The Justice Department under William Barr has looked into every aspect of my life for more than three years and took no action,” Reed said. “I wanted to be mayor since I was 13 years old. I would never ever [have] broken my mother’s heart by taking money from somebody.”

Reed launched a new mayoral campaign last month for a third term in Atlanta. 

Click here to read the full investigation from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Ny MaGee
Ny MaGee is a screenwriter and freelance reporter from Chicago -- currently living in Los Angeles and covering A-list entertainment for various outlets, including Emmys.com. She has worked for: Miramax, MTV & VH1, The Jim Henson Company, Hallmark Channel, Paramount Pictures, and for iconic indie film producer Roger Corman.

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