- Associated Press - Saturday, May 28, 2016

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - A politically connected Mandeville businessman and media consultant’s guilty plea in an alleged advertising scheme has been overturned by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

NOLA.com ‘ The Times-Picayune reports (http://bit.ly/1TGuyQH ) that the 5th Circuit ruled that Raymond Reggie was not given the opportunity to say he felt coerced into the plea.

Reggie was sentenced to 11 years in prison after pleading guilty on October 27, 2014. Prosecutors said Reggie, who owned media firm Nexlevel Group, billed New Orleans and Baton Rouge area dealerships for ads he never made. He was also ordered to pay $1.2 million in restitution.

Two judges in a three-judge 5th Circuit panel granted Reggie’s request to overturn the plea this week.

The court ruled that U.S. District Judge Shelly Dick in Baton Rouge failed to fully inform Reggie of his rights before pleading guilty and did not give Reggie a chance to tell the judge he felt coerced into the plea.

The defendant told the court he was impaired by a stroke when he pleaded guilty to the charges last year.

Reggie suffered a stroke less than two weeks before he was scheduled for trial. He spent three days in intensive care and required physical, occupational and speech therapy, according to the appeal court’s decision.

Five days before the October 27 trial date, Reggie asked for a 30-day delay because of an upcoming medical procedure for his heart. Reggie also noted that his speech wasn’t back to normal, he was unable to drive and he required help cooking, bathing, getting dressed and using the restroom, according to the decision. The delay was denied.

Reggie, son of the late Crowley City Judge Edmund Reggie and a brother-in-law of the late U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy, previously worked on the campaigns of former President Bill Clinton and other high-profile Democratic campaigns.

Reggie’s father headed John F. Kennedy’s presidential campaign in Louisiana and served as Gov. Edwin Edwards’ executive counsel during Edwards’ second term in office. Edmund Reggie was convicted in the latter part of his life of misapplying funds of the now-defunct Acadia Savings & Loan of Crowley, a bank he founded in the late 1950s.

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Information from: The Times-Picayune, http://www.nola.com

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