Feb 12, 2014|
Dave Cohen fills in for Garland and talks with Tulane law professor Tania Tetlow about the guilty verdicts on 20 of 21 counts in the trial of former New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin.
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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)
1234 this is news director Dave Cohen in the WW well AM FM and dot com news center where we are awaiting the delivery of the verdict. In the trial of former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin on 21 counts of alleged corruption to help us work our way through this and understand what's going on in federal court. We welcome in Tulane law professor Tonya -- thank you professor for joining us. The -- in -- jury deliberated for less than seven hours over two days after hearing. All of the details in 21 counts against him what does that tell you that they came back in a relatively short period of time. After deliberating all of these counts. Well that. The general idea that is that the quicker the jury is more likely that the conviction but of course there are actions that. I'm in general I think what this case given that come laxity in the strengthen that government. -- I -- my -- is that it is the conviction because I think about America's. Hoped for -- or -- and clinical so the fact that there is the verdict at all probably package. Yeah we should be very specific and that the court announced that there is a verdict not that the jury has something to say not that. The jury has a question not anything else there is a verdict and an order for there to be a verdict. It had to be. All twelve members of the jury a green on each of the 21 counts correct. That's right southern account that there are not girl they would still be deliberating. And it had a core you have to the end of mr. OK so right now just so people understand what's happening at the courthouse. We're waiting for all of the parties in the case to come together in the courtroom we understand that the former mayor and his wife are now in the hallway outside of the courtroom they -- in the courtroom briefly they had laughed. The prosecution team the defense team has arrived waiting for the judge and the jury obviously. To return to the courtroom and delivered his verdict. That's a very difficult time for. All parties involved are very anxious time I guess as you know there's a verdict but it got to wait for everyone to get there before he can find out exactly what it is. Right then and everyone will be staring at the -- and -- as they locking in the see any signs about what they're looking at the end it or not. -- that the verdict. If we assume that the verdict is guilty based on the time it took them based on the overwhelming evidence the five witnesses that came out and directly testified and being involved in schemes either themselves bribing -- being in via involved in the bribery of the former mayor of New Orleans. Then at that point assuming that the guilt team the verdict is guilty what happens. To -- Nagin. Well that's generally and it hit like that and -- and on line Hewitt remain -- on. Pending sentencing opposite can report any character. I'm but the sentencing would be my hands because they're calculation. Is guilty verdict. Relevance sentencing guidelines. I'm at a -- happy guilty verdict on every count so it would depend on which you were convicted -- and and probation not as calculate that outlined a lawyer argue -- -- -- -- taken at the sentencing and the -- actually issue. Now I guess we'll get a pretty good idea once count one. The verdict is delivered because that's the conspiracy. To commit fraud and bribery that's the biggest of the 21 charges against him. It isn't that -- maximum penalty -- basically how workers. In the back stats. Ford make and beyond an acquittal would be it could be convicted only attacked count them at the end of the indictment because attack on -- are much lower to retreat for a year. If he's convicted of any of the bribery scheme that outlined there are more like twenty year. We're talking with Tulane law professor Tonya -- about the fact that the jury has announced it has reached a verdict. In the 21 counts of corruption. Against former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin we are still waiting for the court to assemble all of the parties. To bring the jury in and to announce those verdicts and as we wait. We're talking about the process that has happened thus far again six and a half hours of deliberation over two days -- very strange though. That this jury started on Monday. Deliberated half a day took a day off because one of the jurors had a medical issue. And then today they deliberated about half today ordered launched. And just about the time that they've probably got an eight their launch they said okay we -- launch were ready to deliver our verdict. Does that surprise you that it happened the way it happened. Well it is that you're going extinct like that. -- -- -- not Auckland by -- went history began deliberating it really import these options battle with the opposition if you can help it out. And cried at our usual right. You know bing -- come -- But the jury deliberating to quickly act. Had a pretty strong case and it hit it is against the conviction. A sign of how strong -- and she could be epic it got more time. Agonizing over but -- -- Obviously they believed one side overwhelmingly more than the other if it all twelve people were able. In just six and a half hours of discussing 21 counts to agree on all when he -- can. A lot about the when he went separate count it's more about that or -- schemes. So each scheme came with you know what part of the current spirit in -- involve one wire Robert money laundering. But basically believe it happened about. That particular scheme you would convict on several account and apply. I'm by the Atlanta several different schemes and what -- that each one of them to see if they believe that. We're standing by for the verdict ladies and gentlemen to be delivered in federal court I'm Dave -- along with Tulane law professor Tonya -- here on WW LA MFM and dot com. We will keep you posted minute by minute blow by blow as the jury. Does finally delivered his verdict and then we'll find out what it all means and how long rein -- if convicted. Could be facing in federal prison don't go away will be right back with the verdict as soon as it's delivered right here on WWL. It's 1245. Verdict has been reached in the trial of former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin and 21 counts of alleged corruption I'm Dave -- along with Tulane law professor Tonya tableau is joining us to lend her expertise. As we wait for the jury to deliver its verdict. Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin has re entered the courtroom he was outside the courtroom briefly with his wife Debbie WL TV's David hammer is there and tells us that. The mayor has been looking relaxed leaning against the jury box with a hand in his pocket talking with his attorney as he waits to learn his fate. Professor hello how long potentially could Ray Nagin go to prison if this jury comes back with all counts guilty. The way it works is that the senate and got on look at the conduct that he picked it up and the are different wing streaks going and there are a lot of point because -- elected officials. In a position of public trust can pick bribery and then they're going -- -- on the amount herb block. Are brought in ball. And that may be something controversial because -- expect the either now a -- at each or the amount profit at city contractors -- from a back would marquee talent -- flushed out. I'm and then they're like how much of a leader in the conspiracy. Once you about it at that point she goes to a chart as a green monster -- sign it you. And by my calculations. If you convicted of any of the bribery clicking acts. I -- minimum that's something pretty close to twenty years and and possibly higher than twenty years just to -- -- DH CP Erica convicted. I just one part of the scheme and seventeen in happier. Yeah that's that's a long time we look back at some of the -- high profile corruption cases in New Orleans and Louisiana Edwin Edwards got Brit it's a little bit less than. Ten years when he was convicted of corruption while governor of Louisiana and after governor of Louisiana some people here Ray Nagin could be gone away for twenty years. And I think that's a little shocking and surprising. It is -- the mayor Detroit I think it got a -- a decade he felt quite recently. That pretty high on the idea. That cost. A city like New Orleans an awful lot has happened it's kind of corruption that he's indeed convicted happened and it really that city back and altered the way. It would be the first ever mayor of New Orleans to be convicted. In federal court on corruption charges we should know shortly. If he doesn't make history that way count one is conspiracy to commit fraud and bribery we talked briefly about that happens and you talked about. The bribery counts which -- counts two through seven. Accepted 60000 dollars from Rodney Williams accepted 2250. Dollars from Rodney Williams accepted granite from Frankfurt Allah. Except it's 50000 dollars from Michael McGrath and -- for -- except at granite from -- dollar accepted 101000 dollars. From Rodney Williams those numbers. Based on other corruption cases we've heard in bribery cases we've -- may sound small but you say the cost is much bigger than just the dollars that Ray Nagin allegedly received. Well guidelines count it either team. Or velocity municipality which they would judge fact that the millions -- city contracts that were handed out to. Some of the alleged -- And and the profit in the top of -- contracts that they might have been the most qualified people and they got it true -- So that's that you take all of that into account and that's where we come up with the based on the guidelines the report and the discretion that is left of the judge your right. If convicted in that Ray Nagin could be looking at twenty years behind bars in federal prison. Right and it it ultimately up to detach the guidelines you should be mandatory that court has become not mandatory anymore around. And keep -- convicted -- -- sentenced by different judged. But I imagine might be difficult to American to go lower and the sentence given you a co conspirator who involve the -- at the scheme compared to that former Khmer. And we understand now that the alternate jurors who did hear the case. From start to finish -- did not participate in the deliberations they have entered the courtroom according to WW LTV's David hammer so. We assume that the -- full jury cannot be far behind all of the prosecution and defense they are there in the courtroom now. As long as well as members of the public the defendant and his wife. And the waiting I guess really is the hardest part at this point in in the proceedings you know there's a verdict but you just don't know what it is. -- -- -- You're kidding about the president and then. Now they they say he appears confident and relaxed in the courtroom at this time. But I guess he's appeared that way mostly throughout and many people have been just surprised and every analysts we've talk to you. One was surprised that Ray Nagin even went to trial. And probably by all reports against legal advice and then that he took the stand. And now that he still appears confident what does that tell you as someone who is -- Student of the legal system and has studied so many of these cases. Well hit it hard you know on the market psychological question in the legal. Ultimately not a lawyer but the side. The client. And I think that and there probably thought he could explain himself to that Jerry in -- could do it at a critic. And about the finality about Water Cube or American or quite clapper. My thought is that probably the former Bible and now. Yeah you've said based on everything you've. That you know about this trial about this case and about the law that if you had a bad you would bet that we will be very shortly jury hearing a guilty verdict. That would be my back. At least at the heart camino your -- all of that but apple matters that should share it that much to the tent and. -- -- we are still waiting. For the jurors to start delivering their verdict may -- we were gonna take a break or not. The -- entering the courtroom right now and they are taking their seats in the jury box. We can only be I'm guessing a few short minutes at the most away from starting to hear this verdict is not anything else that has to happen at this point -- the -- and -- rather than the judge to ask them for their verdict correct. That's that's what she has been a four person that can't happen deliver. Okay and and read about it each count. The jury is in the courtroom ladies and gentlemen and now we await WW LTV's David hammer is in the courtroom. He will be sharing with us. The verdicts as they come down. We have a very full courtroom but surprisingly up to a few minutes ago we're told there were several empty seats. Still in the courtroom that there was that not a huge rush of individuals to fill the courtroom -- Arabia -- to the fact that there is an overflow room where many people have decided to go and ladies and gentlemen. Count one. Guilty. Conspiracy to commit fraud and bribery. Count two. Guilty. Accepted 60000 dollars from Rodney Williams what are we what are we here now with the count three. Guilty -- 2250. Dollars from Rodney Williams it is official ladies and gentlemen who were once mayor Ray Nagin. The first ever mayor of the city of New Orleans and it's nearly 300 year history. To be convicted in federal court. On corruption charges. Guilty also on 45. And six if we get to seven which it seems likely at this time is guilty that will be all of the bribery charges. And seven not guilty what does that tell you professor the first five bribery charges guilty. The sixth the bribery charge which -- count seven in the indictment not guilty of accepting 101000 dollars from Rodney Williams. At that. That and you indicated I think they convicted of -- really count. It's hard you know but some time. Yeah the first two counts so they they think he accepted 62250. Dollar from Rodney Williams but did not accept an additional 101000. That was I believe the 101000. Dollar check made out to cast that would the literature but I'm so perhaps it is being written up evidence animated it and mayor -- -- remembered right. Count eight guilty does it matter if there are any not guilty to this point or the fact that the first six counts in the indictment are all guilty is that pretty much and plenty of nails in the proverbial -- I really don't think about 1101000 dollar charge will matter all the hundred outlined -- agent -- and how the government. Defend the conviction on appeal because that looked like the jury really pop churches to be careful about the evidence. But for the first five wire fraud counts guilty. Now the rest of the wire fraud counts guilty. And that tax division -- the false filing false tax returns guilty so twenty out of 21. Counts. Guilty. An interesting verdict but almost overwhelmingly. Completely. -- And based on that you're thinking when he years in federal prison would not be a surprise for a former New Orleans Mayor ray and it. Could there is there any outside chance any possibility. That. The defense has something up its sleeve and the only reason I ask. For appeal is because so many people were so surprised to know the law no it intricately and understand how works who have seen so many of these cases. That Nagin didn't take the offer that could've landed him far less jail time could have protected his son's. He insisted on going to trial insisted on taking the stand. And now he's been convicted on -- money out of 21 counts. Could he know something we don't know is there anything that you could imagine that they could have that make them make vegan and is and his attorney feel that they can. Win an appeal. Nothing that I. I can think I mean -- At art and now they know -- controversial issues came up at trial and judge spared in the statute very careful to protect dependence right. And as a result of that -- much harder to her purse her conviction on appeal because she is. And I'm not Wear any. Big legal issues during the entry issues that came up during the trial the procedurally would give him electing non current appeal -- You know what that there had been averaging bank -- from the description in the -- to do -- -- anything major cannot. And nothing that we knew going into the trial that was raised during the pretrial motions. That has not already been fed it out legally. That could be the basis for a successful appeal. -- -- the -- raised the issue about blocking handle it dot com by the former assistant US attorneys come by you can. Ask questions and -- about what they stopped such. Comment and they and that they would kick to jury that had yet seen any comment would not have been packed up. Diet and so it got -- Problem before the trial part the backpack and impact the critics of that relation not the issue. Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin has been convicted on twenty out of 21. Counts against him in his corruption trial in federal court in New Orleans convicted of conspiracy to commit fraud and bribery. Convicted of accepting a 60000 dollar bribe from Rodney Williams at 2250. Dollar bribe from Rodney Williams. Granite from Frankfurt allies in June of 2000 innate. Guilty of accepting 50000 dollars in bribes from Michael McGrath and Frankfurt -- Convicted of accepting another shipment of granite from Frankfurt now and August of 2008. Not guilty of accepting 101000 dollars from Rodney Williams but then guilty on all the other charges. Wire fraud. 123456789. Wire fraud convictions. Money laundering conviction. And for. Convictions for filing false tax returns in 200520062007. And 2008. All of this in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. As New Orleans was trying to rebuild. From the devastation. Of the storm what happens next in the legal process professor to. Well the -- to make decisions about whether -- man. Taken directly to jail weekly -- he would remain on the game on until after the sentencing. And that the and that will be -- for a couple of months had. -- of work began calculating that outline. And -- the jets have to make her decision that back here. -- and a white collar case but the and it will be given a date to. Port in the print and just take an up and -- in the courtroom that he actually happened it that he that you appear at. And there are also the issue -- whether he can remain on bond pending appeal but that and turn on whether there is an issue on appeal might. Productive ever -- the conviction which was. True in the upper case that there are big issues that certainly -- -- -- effort conviction that they mean jail appeal. That may not -- here. All right we're talking with two line law professor attacking at -- -- about the fact that. Former New Orleans Mayor ray -- in the first ever mayor of New Orleans convicted. In a federal court. On bribery and other corruption charges I'm Dave Cohen will continue our nonstop coverage of this verdict coming up. Here on WWL. Am FM and dot com David hammer WW LTV in the courtroom says no noticeable reaction and from Ray Nagin. When the verdict was delivered.