NEW ORLEANS -- Federal prosecutors asked a federal judge Monday to reject a request from Grammy-winner Irvin Mayfield and his co-defendant to be allowed to travel to South Africa this summer to perform at a jazz festival.
Last week, Mayfield and his business and music partner, Ronald Markham, asked the court to modify the terms of their release as they await an October trial for conspiracy, money laundering, fraud and obstruction of justice.
They had to surrender their passports when they were indicted in December. But then Mayfield received a contract to perform at the Soweto International Jazz Festival in Johannesburg, South Africa, in June. His attorney, Federal Public Defender Claude Kelly, argued last week that Mayfield, who was declared indigent by the court in January, needs the $7,500 performance fee, which the festival was prepared to pay on top of his travel and lodging expenses.
Kelly argued that Mayfield needs the money to support three children.
But Assistant U.S. Attorney Dall Kammer objected Monday, arguing Mayfield and Markham are “substantial flight risks” and extraditions from South Africa are “difficult and time-consuming (taking up to 10 years).”
The prosecutor argued Mayfield is a flight risk because he “does not have substantial financial ties to” his native New Orleans and “has performed internationally for years, and therefore can draw on a substantial source of future income outside of the United States should he choose to flee.”
Mayfield sold his Broadmoor home in October and lost his regular employment in the wake of a series of WWL-TV reports exposing the alleged scheme.
Kammer argued there was even less cause to grant Markham “extraordinary leniency to travel to South Africa” because he is not named in the contract and has enough money to retain a private defense attorney.
Kammer alleged Mayfield and Markham have already attempted to obstruct the investigation into their use of more than $1.3 million in public library donations and urged the court to reject their request to get new passports for up to eight days in June.