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The federal case against former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin

New_Orlean_Mayor_Ray_NaginA federal grand jury on Friday charged former Mayor Ray Nagin with 21 counts of public corruption, including bribery and fraud related to his dealings with city vendors following Hurricane Katrina.

Nagin was officially charged on February 20, 2013. He pleaded not guilty to all 21 counts.

His trial is scheduled to start April 29, 2013.

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Former New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin wants a federal judge to postpone his bribery trial, but the feds say there’s no reason.

Nagin’s camp wants more information about a Justice Department probe of anonymous online comments posted by at least three federal prosecutors.

But in Friday’s filing the U.S. Attorney claims that all of the former prosecutors that were involved in the internet scandal were gone from the office before Nagin was even indicted.

This all comes after a federal judge tossed out the convictions of five NOPD officers in the Danziger Bridge case earlier this week citing grotesque prosecutorial misconduct.

Ray Nagin’s defense attorney, Robert Jenkins, is asking a judge for an indefinite delay in the former mayor’s federal corruption trial.

Jenkins is basing his request on the blogging scandal that is rocking the United States Attorney’s office in New Orleans.  This week, a federal judge threw out five convictions of former NOPD officers in the Danziger Bridge case based on the scandal.

In federal documents, Jenkins claims at least one former prosecutor posted online blogs about Nagin.  The document includes a few examples, including one that lists Nagin as one of the Three Stooges.

Jenkins says the blogs could make it impossible for Nagin to receive a fair trial.  He wants the indefinite delay until after all investigations into the blogging scandal are complete and their results made public or revealed to Nagin.

A hearing on the request is set for October 9th.

News with a Twist

Ray Nagin’s case could soon be headed to trial … maybe

Could ex-mayor Ray Nagin’s case actually be going to trial? Right now, that appears to be the case. Late next month the Feds and Nagin will go at it at federal court on Poydras Street.

The ex-mayor is accused of stealing just about everything, including the kitchen sink. The Feds have an array of witnesses, all ready to testify against the former mayor of New Orleans.

Nagin seems ready to roll the dice in court. Or is he?

October 28th is Nagin’s trial date, meaning the ex-mayor and the Feds have about 6 weeks to hammer out a plea deal and I think that’s exactly what’s going to happen.  There is way too much to risk against the Feds who appear to have a rock solid case.

Plus, Nagin’s sons and wife appear to be involved.  If the Feds wanna play hardball, and they love playing hard ball, they could include Nagin’s family in the charges.

It’s crunch time, not only for the ex-mayor, but for the Feds as well.  Will Nagin pull an Edwin Edwards or Bill Jefferson and fight the Feds when they appear to have such a strong case against him?

Conventional wisdom says look for the ex-mayor to cop a plea any day now.  But also remember, there is nothing conventional about Ray Nagin.

News with a Twist

Ray Nagin is going to jail, but for how long?

When will ex-mayor Ray Nagin cop a plea? Earlier this week in federal court, Nagin pleaded not guilty to all 21 counts against him.  But that was before a magistrate judge and those pleas were expected.  Now a trial date has been set for mid April and here’s where the real fun begins.

For the next few weeks, Nagin and his attorney Robert Jenkins will continue negotiating with the Feds hoping to bang out a deal.  Nagin wants his sons free and clear from this mess and obviously wants to go away for the least amount of time possible.

15 years ago, Dopey Edwin Edwards could have plead guilty to the crimes he obviously committed and would have spent just 15 months behind bars and his son would have walked free. Instead, the egotistical and narcissistic Edwards rolled the dice one more time and lost, going to jail for a decade.  His son Stephen got 5 years in the clink instead of none.

Will Nagin do the same?   I doubt it.  In the next few weeks look for the ex-mayor to plead guilty to a few of the 21 counts against him.  He’ll go to a federal prison for about 5 years and his sons will go free.  Not a bad deal for a public official stealing from us.

Take the deal C-Ray.  It an easy choice: 5 years in jail or 15-20?  The ball is in the ex-Mayor’s court.

captureFormer New Orleans mayor C. Ray Nagin pleaded not guilty to 21 charges of bribery Wednesday morning in federal court.

Judge Sally Shushan set Nagin’s bond at $100,000, and he will remain free until his trial date of April 29, 2013.

Nagin is accused of taking bribes offered by three city contractors. Two of them, Rodney Williams and Frank Fradella, will testify against him. The third, Mark St. Pierre, is already serving time for bribing Nagin’s technology officer, Greg Meffert, and has offered to testify in exchange for shaving time off his sentence.

News with a Twist

The Feds finally got Ray Nagin

We all know that he’s “innocent until proven guilty,” but by looking at the record of former U.S. Attorney Jim Letten’s office and the multitude of witnesses that have plead guilty to bribing the ex-mayor, things look pretty gloomy for Ray Nagin.

The criminal behavior doesn’t surprise me. Nagin lacked ethics and morals long before he broke any laws. Who could forget the lunches and dinners with his wife that Nagin simply charged to the city credit card? Not because it was right or justified but because he could.  When first confronted about literally dozens and dozens — if not hundreds and hundreds — of free meals for himself and his wife, Nagin first denied it.  Then when shown proof of the meals paid for by city tax dollars, Nagin simply said he and his wife were talking city business.

If the petty free meals weren’t enough, how about the many international trips the Nagins took on the city’s nickel? China, Panama, Cuba, South Africa, Australia … just to name a few.  These so called “economic opportunity” trips were just junkets the mayor somehow justified. Not one job created.  Not one dollar for the city. Just expenses.

When one considers the lack of integrity of the ex-mayor on the free meals and trips, this criminal indictment isn’t that surprising.

Ray Nagin’s public service life began with Aaron Neville singing Ave Maria.  It will end with Nagin’s indictment — and if convicted — a lot of prison time.

“Under the guidelines, this is enough to put him away for the rest of his life…” said former federal prosecutor Julian Murray, “…if you take half of these things.”

Friday, Nagin was indicted on 21 counts stemming from his time as mayor of the city.  Nagin is accused of accepting bribes in exchange for arranging business with the city for his co-conspirators.

Last year, former Nagin associates Frank Fradella and Rodney Williams pleaded guilty to federal corruption charges.  But until Friday’s indictment, the two men were accused only of bribing a person identified as “Public Official A”, although attorney for both men all but stated Nagin was the public official in question.

The investigation into Nagin has been ongoing for years, and his indictment comes as no surprise to many people in the city.  But it does bring feelings of disappointment for many New Orleanians who voted for Nagin during his first-ever political campaign.  Many people felt they could trust the executive from the local cable company, and Nagin enjoyed growing support early in his tenure as mayor.

Nagin’s support grew after he led the city on a series of corruption crackdowns at City Hall.  And when he wowed citizens with new, high-tech crime  cameras, many people felt they truly elected a man who could move the city into the next millennium.

But most of the arrest at city hall didn’t stick.  The high-tech cameras seldom worked.  And the man who Nagin hired to work for the city and help lead its tech push, Greg Meffert, would also plead guilty to corruption charges.

Like a lot of people, Hurricane Katrina pushed Nagin to an emotional brink.  But unlike most people, the mayor vented on talk radio for all to hear.  Then there was his chocolate city comments during the 2006 MLK Day festivities.

Now, New Orleans is preparing to greet the world for the Super Bowl.  It will be the city’s first since Katrina.  But event organizers like Mary Matalin are worried about what impressions people will take home with them.

“A lot of them still think that the city is under water — or under indictment — one of them,” Matalin said during a Super Bowl luncheon just days before Nagin’s indictment.





Reactions to the indictment of former Mayor Ray Nagin range from satisfaction, to skepticism.

“I think if he did wrong he deserves it,” Scott Herbert said.

Reaction from the public — to the federal indictment of former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, at least on the surface, appears to be divided along racial lines.

“I’ve always thought he was kind of crooked and I think he deserves what he gets,” John St. Clergy said.

“At this point he’s only charged; he’s only indicted so he has a chance to fight his way through the court,
Dave Sinclair said. “Not knowing, not seeing the evidence against him then obviously we have to withhold our opinion.”

The long-expected indictment for corruption — comes more than two and a half years after Nagin vacated city hall.

Today Mayor Mitch Landrieu issued a statement saying, “Today is a sad day for the City of New Orleans.” “The indictment of Former Mayor Ray Nagin alleges serious violations of the public’s trust.” “Public corruption cannot and will not be tolerated.”

Nagin is accused of accepting cash bribes and gifts from city contractors; and using his power as mayor to leverage contracts for city projects.

“It’s not a victimless crime,” said Metropolitan Crime Commission head Rafael Goyeneche. “This is a crime against everyone in the city of New Orleans; and we’re still paying the price.”

Rafael Goyeneche heads a watchdog group that works to end public corruption.

He says Nagin is accused of siphoning tax dollars that were supposed to be used by government to benefit the public.

Therefore, he says, today is a good day for New Orleans.

“Because anytime someone betrays public trust within New Orleans, Mandeville, St. Bernard or anywhere else and that curtain is pulled back and they’re exposed, I think that serves two purposes. One, it lets the public know that if they report wrong doing something will be done about it.” “And it I think also has a deterrent effect on other public officials that maybe thinking maybe I can get away with it. So this is a good day not just for New Orleans but for Louisiana.”

Goyeneche says he’s followed the on-going investigation but was surprised by the depth, upon reading the federal indictment.


A federal grand jury on Friday charged former Mayor Ray Nagin with 21 counts of public corruption, including bribery and fraud related to his dealings with city vendors following Hurricane Katrina.  The charges are the outgrowth of a City Hall corruption investigation that already has resulted in guilty pleas by two former city officials and two businessmen.  Nagin served as mayor from 2002-2010.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu responded to the indictment with a statement Friday afternoon stating, “This is a sad day for the city of New Orleans. Today’s indictment of former Mayor Ray Nagin alleges serious violations of the public’s trust.  Public corruption cannot and will not be tolerated.”

Nagin Indictment

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