Feb 7, 2014|
Don Dubuc fills in for Garland and talks with Loyola law professor Dane Ciolino about the trial of former New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin.
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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)
And it's Friday so you get down -- and the Garland Robinette on the Friday edition of the think tank welcome aboard looks like we might finally get a pretty decent weekend looks chilly out there but. Bought a lot better than what we have been seeing over the past couple of weeks well. Great show planned for you thanks to our Wonder Woman producer Allison Danny I don't know how she doesn't that she ends up getting awful lot of special gas force and I get right down the horrible a lot of things going on on the pulse of the city of New Orleans and -- no exception today. Are we gonna finish out the program of the special -- the attorney for the police association and launch panel is name is Eric Kessler. I try to get some insight into this kind of surprising move by the US district judge who dropped charges against former it'll PD officer Travis McCabe. He had been accused you -- call of covering up the shooting of Henry Glover after Katrina. And now based on some real elevations some new information. He has been that the case has been dropped -- he cannot be tried again. Was justice served in what impact is this gonna have on the other panel PD officer who is -- involved. Will Unita get into it with them is to Haslem that's coming up will be later on. Also a little later on -- you may have heard. That the death penalty. Governor Bobby Jindal. Said that he's looking at alternatives. To lethal injections. Some folks after the one of the kind of executions. Didn't go exactly as planned. Are saying now that this is cruel and usual manner to put some of the death and does anything that is not cruel on usual about putting someone to death but. That plus that the basis that may be a shortage of getting the drugs and necessary. So governor Jindal says maybe will be looking at some alternative song that the think it will want some of the alternatives. And I researched and found out what other states are doing and what other countries in the world have done and are doing and will discuss that and now also and maybe this is the time for Louisiana to look at abolishing the death penalty altogether. And of course we invite your participation your comments your thoughts because this is the think tank. We'll open up that telephone lines for you but the first off we gonna set up with what's going on next door to Austin. That is the trial Ray Nagin trial that's going on. And now Eagles on rest this week end -- I think to some folks was very surprising. I'm Ray Nagin has decided to take the stand he's been on it and knows he's kind of been. Pretty much entertaining according to some of the accounts and I've gotten as far as what's going on there. Some folks say he never should have done another said he had to because the noise the the evidence is overwhelming against him in. -- needs to speak on his own behalf I heard chick foray on analyst here on this show a lot of times say that. You know he was surprised that he took the stand and really it is to the prosecution's advance to keep him there as long as he can't with this thought that. Well you know you see in here of the reports aren't being given testimony about witnesses in the prosecution presents -- text and email evidence and signatures. In documents. But to really get the person who this saying has done is an expose him to the jury. You keep team there and getting to make. An answer questions well is that a good move bad move. And we're starting off with -- ready opinion poll question asking you'd just that former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin. He has taken the stand in his own defense was that a Smart move or not. Passable on our web page at WWL dot com. And to discuss that further we have one of my other analysts come in a professor of law currently all you hear him often on the show things Elaine thank thanks for joining us this morning. Weren't here. If you would first of all is a playbook you know in the NFL the coaches have this book and it tells you depending on what the score is whether you go for one point two point on a touchdown after touchdown for the extra point. Is a handbook that says slow from a defense attorney standpoint. When you put someone on the stand and when you do not. Well on the configures analogy that the case where you know -- team had potentially take direct and on -- it because they are so are behind. Yen in the trial. At this point. They eat in usually the biggest impediment to all your client to the stand when your crumbled and lawyer. The client at the criminal history that decline has been. Convicted of bank robbery here on the side in the past and you don't want the jurors to hear about that which they -- course one. When -- client tropic island but. In a white collar like this with a former mayor you don't have that probable so that the biggest problem that most. Criminal defense lawyers think about it doesn't exist in the -- So. Committee. It was -- an operator given how well the case has gone for the government how poorly on mr. Nagin today. That that he was gonna take the standard and you know right Megan -- as a result competent. And I would imagine that even the lawyers advised him against and that that he wanted the opportunity to. The caucus -- -- -- and so it becomes no surprise to me I don't -- and at all and cakes and even though the cross examination. -- -- be going about as well mr. Nagin took the rest of it -- I'll just decided not not very. Do you think that part of his tactic of taking the stand was may be to use touch Norman that personality that he has shown over the years to maybe win a cure all ruin and discounting get a more on this side and so look all of this stuff yeah I know it's it's overwhelming and all these people here registered to try to shorten their own sentences. They're all line it's all teamed up against me and to use that personality to sway someone in his favorite to to kind of put down on the substance and go more with with what he -- got as -- showmanship. No doubt -- that's going to be a big part of that after all it was -- -- used that they have the majority of the voters -- Orleans where to what the mayor wants so. He he's got credibility. He used to report to great success. So. It is I'm sure that part of that they be a part of it is these that these crimes there are are about what yesterday can do when he knew it. And what his intentions were when he when he. Got on airplanes for example that daily beauty you know that airplane trip was being paid for by. By some individuals seeking contracts for the city he went to Hawaii did -- know that mark -- year city contractor was in port. And what Ray Nagin knew him when he knew it. Is best explained by Ray Nagin himself. If -- that -- believe. This testimony that that mr. Nagin gave youngster and continues to give today. Then hit it is get out of jail picked. Of course that they don't believe it and they. They believe the government witnesses who testified. By most accounts compellingly. Earlier in the week it lapsed then Denny's is -- -- Is his behavior from from a witness who takes the stand. I saw some accounts of some of the comments he made. With regard to McGrath who testified against him he he asked -- a clarification or you mean that guy that was in Orange. And then on on Rodney Williams he said. Yeah IE he's made some mistakes in the lied about a couple of sayings and and then oh win win none Jenkins is objected to the prosecuted Coleman being too close to the witness an -- -- to -- to asking the back off he kind of some guy. I've got this with friends he's not want a little bit closer is such a thing as a judge being able to tell a witness. What do you not a hostile witness but maybe -- to acting to flip it Q do they have any authority over the behavior of -- of all of a witness like panel as long as an -- you know trying to avoid questions they can answer in any manner of fashion and. Well -- judges the authority to control what goes on her and her courtroom pretty tightly judge Eric of course could. Good admonish could happened honest I'm not too he so glib or flippant in -- and his response to that. -- usually not that kind of judge you use she someone's gonna let the party try their cases. That is mr. -- K -- and let him testify to -- the -- -- got the pot. Now whether that kind of good this clip that's what every wanna call it it's going to be effective. Of course remains to be seen. It is about a minute into -- I was -- trial to -- -- -- and of course. He testified that several of his own criminal trial and he is. -- that that what would it would it would doubt that it it is gearing to that your great smile and -- along with him Utley all but one jury did. And you know you wonder you wonder whether mr. he has collapsing -- well Ray Nagin or overlapping. At him. -- tell -- called on let me go to Keith on the West Bank wants to join in the conversation Keith dumbest thing you have a question for -- to ceiling and. Yes thank you aren't. I have to point I like to bring up with one is. Concern it will only that the objective. -- and rejected the bottom and to take the plea deal in the beginning. And pretty big intern did dale. And one know why heated we choose to itself from the -- by eating get all the college college. Bob client not taken not legal advice in Ottawa and not do it. And the second point. How -- these people who pled guilty to crops these. Business then how come they've not walked in the US -- in Hancock's. Why are -- being portrayed -- innocent people. And I like the content. Good questions good questions thank you. On the on the first point. All the lawyer to do -- get -- line that divides. I would imagine that mr. Jenkins probably. Advised yesterday in the consider whatever plea bargain the government offered -- a lot yeah. What sort of terms. Were discussed by way of league but. It's certain that. Some -- terms were discussed. But you know under the rule about conduct its up to the client to make the decision with a plea guilty obviously and at that point. It's a lawyer's obligation to represent a client so. The lawyer really can't refuse himself he can draw on that client is a partner. Undertaking a course of action that warrior just can't look -- it. -- going to trial. Something that every crumbled and has a right to -- Defense lawyer understands. Their client's right to do so. It doesn't surprise me that that mr. Jenkins and is there. Falsely representing mr. -- Even if he recommended. May -- quite. Strenuously principally use what was what is it our best interest. Yeah I wouldn't have expected Ray Nagin to do anything last. Might the second part of his question about the people who -- saying they were involved in -- why am -- not brought in in in cuffs and in under indictment of cells. Well one it's one couple one broaden an orange jumpsuit and and testified. That -- and and usually that's the way that the US -- going. Cooperating. Convicted. Witnesses in the court in jumpsuits. You know if you. The government tried to dress them up too much and put a coat and tie on all of those witnesses it is something that -- work to use. On cross examination. Even emphasize more that there. Witnessed. It convicted element has lots to gain by coming in continuing to cooperate with the government testify against Ray -- So you know it is they do comment orange jumpsuit are quite popular opinion that it. We talked to a -- ceiling you know the professor of law at loyal about the Ray Nagin trial. Dana I kind of took -- comment to maybe be more of about the home people's representatives who. Said in their testimony that you know we will -- -- skeptical about this and even joked and laughed about how you gotta do business with the mayor. In -- city new laws but yet they did it. Are they not. Possibly being Brohm did it make a deal before they come in that they will not all of oil is. Participating in a bribery only one ended affair with a guy who takes a bribe is the one -- carries that the brunt of it. Well you know again and it. Leave it in that case the government eating -- -- Actually a bit in that bribery scheme. And you're dealing with a government -- Kate's. When -- arrived -- the it if -- the government official acts. Or portable lives in the court the court and quiet that you called export. -- it's a bribe offered up by the person or group government. And heightened the taking -- called -- or. The department robbery extortion there are some time part the arm. But -- year the government currently making all go home people out of the pick and not -- Not -- that. Party on bribery. Understand days they would take a break you -- a -- don't want you to kind of portray. What I've been hearing about the nature of judge ginger Barrick in whose hands this. Our reputation as far as he's seeing doling out punishment TO. I'm hanging judge or C a lenient will be right back -- -- ceiling you know if you wanna Collison is 260. 1870. Or 8668890878. And we're getting a lot about text messages in please remember to text responsibly 28787. Will be right. And as the former new -- mayor Ray Nagin Kroll goals on next door around looking at a pretty opinion polls 71%. Of you say that it was not a Smart idea for him to take the stand in his own defense. While 29%. Say it was with us on the line is Rainsy Leno professor of loyal loyal would discuss in this. -- as far as the judge presiding. As arrogant. In generic or does she have a reputation when I'm being told is -- of kind of being a lenient on passing out the sentence do you think that that is fair assessment of. Well I think are there compared to have a good news. On the bench and it's fair to say she is one who is. -- more likely to get it ranger low range guidelines. Van -- another development package now having said that keep in mind that. That is a lot of discretion in imposing sentences on convicted felon. But it still. Guided by the federal guidelines and ultimately mr. negative convicted in the trial. A pre sentence investigation report will be worked out by the probation office battle. Go through all of the count of conviction in the amount of money involved. The other aggravating and mitigating. Factors and that -- as well recommend just Gergen what his sentence should be. And it's going to be a significant. If he's convicted it'll certainly be in the range of I would imagine 1520 years and she would have the discretion. To give. In whatever. That. It's appropriate in her view that it wouldn't statutory ranges that are appropriate which is gonna be I got it and and it's rare. Any judge to -- From those guidelines. And I would expect that that that that the kind of what the guidelines that she's going to be at least. It's in the transcripts of -- -- I haven't really it's scene seen and used with the prosecution said it made any comments that. Two words to say you know at the time he did this he took all this money it was a city that was on its knees it was recovering from Katrina. And people will looking up to him for leadership and here he was stuff and money in his pocket. Would have been wise to use that and tried to get the did the jury to convict theme all would this be something in a closing argument. Or perhaps before the sentencing when this would be present in European. What you -- present not just logical argument -- emotional ones as well and usually you'd see more of that type of of appeal to emotion and a in the closing arguments so I expect that we're gonna see some of that come from -- -- that prominently prosecutor on the case. When he wouldn't be ultimately closes but. At the end of the trial it's mostly about the evidence what -- show that the witnesses who came were credible that the documents that were introduced and accepted it evidenced. Cooperate that that witness testimony. So it's mostly going to be focusing on. Or just a black man. But but -- I will expect to see some of that kind of emotion. Appeal to a motion in the -- Understood Dana you got a rollicking you stay with a -- news. All right Greg yeah I got a few more questions like this can -- a -- -- ceiling you know professor of law at Loyola. And asking you to weigh in on operative thing simple question at WW all dot com. Mayor ray NA inform -- mayor Ray Nagin and I took the stand -- on -- -- on right now was that a good move bad move cast that vote at WW dot com. And we'll be right back to take you calls text and comments right here and the think tank and abuse of the and welcome back into the Friday edition of think -- dot duke in for Garland Robinette golf will be back with you on Monday. This morning we're talking about the trial that is ongoing as we speak of my former. Mayor of New Orleans Ray Nagin he has taken the stand in his own defense. We're asking you do you think that was a Smart move -- not so Smart 70% saying not so small at 30% saying it was. That remains to be seen with a discussing this case is -- ceiling you know a professor of law at Loyola. -- would you agree with me I think that so far the most damaging evidence that has been produced. Has been in this document that showed that despite the fact. That a committee that Ray Nagin put together and overseeing -- awarding the bid contracts. You went against their recommendation and granted why can't call which one it was but he granted a contract -- someone who is own committee. Told him was not worthy of which kind of shows evidence that. He was steering things there in and not actually trying to do the best thing for the city by. I'm having a nonpartisan committee select these people who qualify for the bids. Yeah on the on the news that document. I'm very skillfully for the first time during the trial and -- make its crop nomination. Usually use the prosecutors. Using all of their -- or bigger case in chief before they -- But that's one that that he held held back and again in anticipation. Of mr. Reagan. And taken the side. And who is quite well -- -- account mr. -- was a bit flummoxed when he when he saw. Yeah he of course had just testified that he didn't have much to do so and contractors and that that. But the contractors that were elected will fully qualified and embedded through. The contract. Process. But but that document. I agree was was the -- documentary evidence that certainly have been used so far. But occasionally blow on the witness to the government's. Now cooperating. Co conspirators who the ball in the and the said the bank think that they. A we're engaged in wrongdoing there a acknowledge it and -- -- that right now great -- all along was within so. That's what it is -- out to those documents really are. Are the cooperation that that the prosecution will argue shows that these convicted. -- -- -- -- in many cases throughout history a lot of some of the most notorious criminals warm warm actually convicted on tax invasion. I guess that's a much easier thing to prove I don't think there's been any reputation. That he did not get this money. But this certainly is evidence that showed he didn't claim it as income on his income tax today you think they pretty much had him on the tax invasion. Despite all the other mounds of evidence as far as the bribery in the conspiracy stuff. Yes it's kind of a a safety net for the prosecutor really. The prosecutors to catch him in an insomniac rather then letting them go completely free yet -- the jury. Believes that there was no bribery going on. -- Hear the prosecution got a strong case on the on the underlying. Conspiracy so. I don't think they're planning on putting up a whole lot of eight and that that that basket. As far as his wife and his two sons that shared in the business that he had stone age. -- I would assume I don't know but I with -- back in the days when they were talking plea bargaining they may have said look will leave them alone you accept the responsibility for this take you punishment them -- done. Since he did not get that does this open -- up for them to maybe be charges brought against them is co conspirators. In following this thing. And I think it also puts him in a catch 22 were the more he shows their involvement. To remove himself from making decisions. Then I think he implicates -- But if he says no they weren't interest of any kind of implicates himself that he wasn't control and doing the dealing with these companies. Are. -- get sick -- that its weapons in his life. Are. Are not ever going to be prosecuted. They certainly. There was an opportunity for the government to do that. But at that point the statute of limitations has passed a number of these crimes. At -- as a practical matter the decision to prosecute them or not has already. Been made. And vetted through to the public integrity unit of the Department of Justice in Washington. So I can't imagine that they'll ever be prosecuted although I'm certain that that -- topic of discussion during plea negotiations. And and I do think that the government ultimately didn't decide to indict them even though the government probably believes that. They've shared some culpability. There. -- and perhaps husband. But. But it looks very happy that it as a as a tactical matter what you are prosecuting. Wives and children of elected officials. That turns them -- law makes the government. Unduly. Onerous and every candidate -- I would bet that. As a practical matter the decision not to invite them what on what company that that -- that I drove. I drove just letting yesterday control. I agree. I finally last question know what what -- we go from here how long do you think the rest of this is gonna go on -- worked through the weekend do you think Communists. What some 21 charges I'm sure is gonna take awhile for judge -- and give the jury instructions on how to. Now arrive at a decision on each one's listening may go on for a few more days current. Bet that -- yesterday in the last 2%. McCall traditionally which do appear collier why. -- going to be your last witness and then you're gonna arrest but keep in mind that the prosecution. Has the chance to put on the -- And we'll see you for example mark street -- -- tell our during the government -- -- They very well may call him a rebuttal witness. They may recall great effort or some of these other co conspirators do. To rebut specific thing that mystery in that. Mr. -- -- and so you know that's that certainly possible that the government will put on some some brief rebuttal case I would expect that. And that'll probably take some. Yeah probably that happened here today and then we talk about jury instructions so. Yeah -- they're gonna work that we and that I would expect that that the jury in this case sometimes error -- next. Very good day thanks as always for shedding light on this case would really appreciate your participation. Right -- ceiling you know professor law at -- universe.