Jul 9, 2014|
Angela talks to WWL-TV's Paul Murphy, Mike Perlstein and WWL Legal Analyst Chick Foret about the Nagin corruption trial
We're discussing the hot topics of the day with co-host of First Take, Todd Menesses.
Angela discusses the shooting in Lafayette and says farewell to WWL as she hands her timeslot off to Scoot.
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Angela talks with WWL-TV investigative reporter Katie Moore and Tulane law professor Tania Tetlow about the city's backlog of uninvestigated rape cases.
Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)
Well quite a day and it's a day that's gonna go down in the history books the first mayor of New Orleans and almost 300 years has been sentenced to prison. Ray Nagin will spend ten years in federal prison for bribery wire fraud money laundering and filing false income tax returns. And conspiring to defraud the public of his honest services as an elected official. From the moment he took office to this day it has been a twelve year Odyssey. One that started with great hope and ended with an even greater disappointment. If not downright anger by a population. That post-Katrina made it very clear. That in the New Orleans corruption would not be tolerated. So for the next three hours we're gonna talk about what went on today at the courthouse. And really what this means for the city moving forward. With the people who have been covering this from day one how -- week. -- for -- attorney and legal analyst for channel four. Mike pearl -- WW LTV investigative reporter and Paul Murphy crack political reporter. Also with channel four so happy to see your three faces. And let me just thinking on -- I have watched you since day one and you all have done a phenomenal job. Of covering. Not just this not just today but to the whole process of what's been going on. I have to say -- I also watched that you last night on channel four and you gave up a great free presentation -- heard you say today that it was the Nash Roberts style. But it was it was very eye opening -- I think I did not know long. That the sentencing process. And you were explaining to everybody what the the categories would be -- the point system would be. And yet it came out about half. Yeah Angela thank you for your kind words last night we went old school we went a lot Nash Roberts. And today we -- no school. Michael was in the courtroom Paul was upstairs they were tweeting Gordon Russell from the partners and the New Orleans advocate was tweeting. Might cause and Erik -- more in the newsroom and we went old school last night in new school today and twitters an amazing thing and we're very proud of what we did today. You're surprised by the -- I'm shocked. Let me start by saying that I have total respect to judge -- She's a wonderful human being she's the one most compassionate people not just compassion and judges -- the most compassionate people that I know. And I know for a fact that what she did today was what she thought in her heart and in her mind was the best for every. She actually did what she thought was best and as a as an officer of the court I respect that I respect her I respect your position and our respect the decision. But Paul are -- talking and I know Paulson talk about this than a minute. We've gotten a number of tax. Tweets. Emails. The general public's not a happy. Allen and they've been calling into the radio station. Expressing that I think equal to that is the surprise. -- a minute -- we as you say last night we went through the federal sentencing guidelines. Even if you take away -- you do not add the points for being a leader -- organizer and I can easily see how she got to that. It certainly wasn't organized and all the criminal activity was totally disorganized only know -- even handle leader. So I'm quite comfortable with the fact. That she didn't add either two levels from the inner organizer or leader or four levels for having five more participants I understand how she got that. But the guidelines as I calculate them last night war world level 3615. And two thirds the nineteen and half. I felt very comfortable issue would come in somewhere in there knowing her like I do I thought she'd come in at fifteen and two thirds. So she went below the guidelines and I calculated by a third. That's a big production -- she downward departed from the federal sentencing -- so even showing compassion. Keeping it at fifteen would have shown that compassion that's what I I did at a show went on to -- last Friday. And that's what -- and I think she's gonna come on the level 36 and sure go lower end of the guidelines because that's who she is. Well she went. Five years in two thirds below the lowest level of the god wants which is surprising. To me my -- -- Paul Murphy your thoughts. Well I -- first of all. She just -- and also came up with a fifteen to twenty but it just shows the power and discretion of the federal judge. She takes the totality of the case the circumstances of the defendant. The fact that he was a first offender. That he was otherwise. A good family man had provided. Some years of public service. And yeah you're right she did not go with that the calculations. The tax book she went with her gut. Would she thought was very appropriate. Her comment in court was I must impose a sentence that is sufficient. But not excessive. And she hit points on both sides for leniency. As well as for a strong deterrent. But in the end. She thought that. This was an aberration. From. His life behavior. And let's face it ten years is not a cakewalk. That ten years will equate to eight and a half years if he. Against all available good time. But he's financially ruined. His wife has filed for bankruptcy. He still has that 500. Thousand dollars for for chair and she had an 82000. Dollar restitution which you'll have to pay for the rest of his life including. A portion of his prisoner earnings so ten years it's not an easy sense it's just like eight compared to. What the guidelines. Came out to. Do you think part of the frustration that you're hearing in your. Your emails and on the radios. Is that we have become a community that is intolerant of this and this even is not the only one we sent many before. Well they judge did mention something about the reputation of New Orleans in her statements today to mr. Nagin. She said the seriousness of mr. Nagin crimes could hardly be overstated it breeds mistrust in public officials especially New Orleans. With the reputation of being a den of corruption despite great strides to the contrary. She also took into consideration. Mr. Nagin being a good son to his parents who were in the courtroom today. Support of his family still has a young daughter. And his prior good deeds before this conspiracy. Was hatched but she said. No good deed can make up for violating the public trust in that appears to be a message of the day. You could argue that ten years is not much of a deterrent but if you -- serving ten years that's certainly a lot of time to think about what you did. Federal scientists say that to a variant commented that. She was not going to be steered by other cases. She was going to do this when singularly. And her quote was I must make an independent assessment of the cave. No matter how highly publicized and device in this case may be I think she realized that there might be some. Disappointment. In some quarters that this was on the light end. She decided she was going to block that out and do it she felt was right. This sounds like a clear reference to the saint -- case. Where he got seventy and have fears the city contractor. C and the city contractor who gets seventeen and a half years in the mayor who got ten. That's the first -- heard those words 'cause I was outside the courtroom. But it seems to me that is a reference to the saint -- case. But we didn't wasn't he up for like over fifty charges vs -- up on 21 well it depends on the guidelines and seventeen and a half I think was -- Was the middle I think -- -- a level 36 himself and I'm not really sure what his -- -- work but I can tell you mr. saint Pierre and his council and everyone associated with chemical in his family. Thought that that was an excessive sentence to a very surprised at seventeen and half. Would you know if not in that case -- think -- case that there were letters sent to the judge. Commenting that he had been a good citizen and even a good parent that there are always those types of letting -- pressure. And we talked about the letters today on the morning show with with Eric in -- I put the Jeremy made in a letter would have heard him not. Not help him about a would have heard him because he called the US attorney's office pimps pimping government witness says. I thought it was inflammatory so I. I had this totally wrong well the weather really interesting things about the family letters and the letters came from his wife and an all three children. None of them admitted to wrongdoing by their father or husband. They all stuck to the knee in line which is that. This was prosecution. In which he was railroaded. And that those co defendants who testified against them what we're liars and how to help themselves -- sweetheart deals. And that was that maybe the part that was the most than usual he never did express remorse he never apologized. And usually that. That's punitive in federal sentencing. But it doesn't seem like she. Gained him for that. Well you know what we're gonna have to take a break but I wanna pick it up there -- one. The Nagin denial. Which is powerful but also you bring up in what would have been if those kids which I would recommend had been in the courtroom. I mean they love their father -- and arrived at impassioned letter but did they know all the facts it's interesting you're saying they never mentioned. That he didn't do anything they're just talking about he's a great dad not only did they know all the facts. They were participated in the -- of all overt acts let's let's talk about offense stay with us everyone will be right back I'm Angela under the W well we not a story of the decade. I'm with -- for -- political and done legal analyst Mike pearl stand super super -- WL TV investigative reporter. And Paul Murphy truly a wonderful reporters well. And we were talking about. Ray -- is denial. And and Paul if you have covered this literally. Since he was indicted. It was consistent. Even to today. I think did -- most people tell you that mr. day against the downfall is the fact that he -- nobody's council he would listen to anybody's advice. He marched to the beat of his own drum. Even when his own defense attorney was saying take to deal he could've got five years instead of ten. He he did it his way and that has been his downfall has been his MO since day one since he rose to prominence to be the mayor of New Orleans. As we commented he did it as -- governor Edwards. Press could've done deal and opted not to play Edwin Edwards were told was offered a deal. That would have instead of sending him to jail for ten years before the trial that he perhaps would have gotten eighteen months in prison and spared his son -- We're not sure if Nagin was offered that's sweet deal but the -- sold through various sources that the deal on the table was five years. He decided to go to court. And everybody is is entitled to their day in court we don't want to say that -- just because you you go to court. Every day in court you're a bad guy you're entitled to that but a lot of times history has taught us that. If you take the deal. Admit your mistakes. Opponent. You'd be much better off become sick committing these types of crimes. -- I'm looking at you might -- thing you've got something in your mind. Well you know there are. Are certainly and you know there were a number of opportunities. For Ray Nagin. To cut his losses. And one thing that was. Quite interest thing as this case rolled along. With one co defendant after another. Cutting a deal and lining up to testify against him. Even if some how in his mind. He did not think he did wrong. He knew that legally he was in serious serious trouble her this was an array. -- witnesses. With multiple schemes. Documents to back it up. And his attorneys. Told him that he stood. Little chance that trial. It's too quickly if I'm wrong checked this was overwhelming. Evidence. But just that kind of get into the Nagin mindset he thought that he could get up on that witness stand and explain it all away. Just the way. I guess it was filtered in his mind. And we do know that attorney's. Sat down with them and basically gave them the legal lines of him succeeding at trial and they were very very trendy you know as Paul said. He always did things his own way. Check. The out bridges -- go now -- -- if this sentence that is not -- even though they may respected. It can go to Washington. And they will look at it and say no we want to we'll -- excepted I heard you say at noon. Made a lot of other things on their plate maybe they'll just let it go but in theory they could raise it. It is a decision for the Department of Justice. More particularly the solicitor general who handles all appeals for the Department of Justice in Washington DC but let me touch -- -- for -- folks who are watching. Live coverage mystical -- also bad for him today I did -- not so much that he didn't get the sentence that he wanted. When he came out as a professional. And he was trying to make an informative statement. To the people of this area. And tell them the Department of Justice the eastern district of Louisiana the US attorney's office. They are official position and his thoughts and he was rudely interrupted by the same person who interrupted our coverage last time and listen. This is America you have a First Amendment right. Let somebody an almost jumped in myself and I said no I'll be historian by jumping and and do something but it was out Regis. The person who tried to interrupt and did in Iraq mr. Coleman a -- panel itself. Graceful at buddy -- very professionally and he was trying to do his job and he would not allowed to do that. It was a very sad statement and it is the it is your right thank Kevin -- America and we can say what we -- say but there's also manners and there's also protocol. And that was unacceptable. And and I I hope that something can be done. Let her be like reporters when the when the person to stop speaking then you can cry out but but until then this is wrong. There has to be a balance somewhere and play again. May be so they may be that in the future and -- take something all of the stations. Worked together and Paul and Michael and everybody's just so professional all the print media on the radio TV. Everybody works so well together and everybody respects all the others that are doing their jobs and is just outrageous and it may be that the next time. That we have this situation because of one person. We're gonna have to make other arrangements has really gonna have to be a roped off area others can have -- have to be. Something inside her somewhere else and it's gonna happen no arrangement -- for credentials yet it is just a shame because everyone works so well together and he did not work today as it relates to mr. Coleman. And I felt bad for him professionally. I did too and I think anybody who was watching a felt the same attempt I also thought it was interesting just as a contrast. That's Kenneth police was not there and vs Jim -- who would have been there. Thought it was interesting -- let that the guys who did the work take the lead. And I think that's in the new day at the US attorney's office here in eastern district making a break with the past. Two more behind the scenes. -- I think that's just. US attorney politte style and maybe that's a style that that has been imposed upon after. The last several years under under leaden with the with the but the commenting scandal and all that -- And and it is interesting that keeps the commenting the blogging whenever you call it is still out there. And yet it's it raises its head and then it dies down. Did it have. Any thing to do with this trial and all tunnel that I don't think we'll ever know I don't think so I didn't show I think you and I only came back in the late in sensing a Nagin not. Guilty verdict last Thomas and I thought it was dead and buried I still think it's Dan -- I think it's it's over -- issues -- report. Who knows what judge -- latched onto all of the preliminary motions that were brought farmer she summarily dismissed on I don't think she attached any significance. Prior to trial after trial or today I just think it's it's it's something that's out there as you say keeps raising its ugly head but I don't think it. Any application in today's sentence I would take just to say -- it's the scandal that will not die. -- and eight million in her letter to bury him mentioned that repeatedly yes and I think that that's. The family's position. Is that they were gunning for him. They railroaded him and that those online comments. Were part of that conspiracy to bury Renee and. Stay with us everyone we're gonna go to the newsroom bumblebee -- talking to three great experts. I'm Angela indicted anyway. -- -- Are they talking about them -- in getting ten years going to prison not fulfilled. They think oak -- Lisa it's a good shot in between numbers family lives and where other families here. But this is something very interesting check out earlier. On the news that. The way defense work that in essence after he spent a little time he would be eligible not for the hard prison but for camp. That's slowly and maybe he's eligible for that now I had lunch for the former -- in mind this week because I want to pick his brain on. Exactly how the federal system work in currently -- I'm talking about it while about it. And he made the point to -- -- so critical. Whether or not he gets a camp on whether or not he gets a prison he should be it's a campus is totally different situation. In and a prison which he's not going to get I don't think in a prison you have barbed wire and it's like it's -- jail. But camp is not it's totally different that's not pleasant. I told Paul earlier today he and I would joking. That we talked about my seersucker student and it was -- Wednesday well in the federal prison system. It's cheeseburger -- Wednesday which every Wednesday night UN cheeseburgers so. That was what Michael I was told me they said look. The -- -- not good but you pull sauce on it and it works you know but in the keynote. And it looks like -- is gonna go to camp my client would walk to work he would work from midnight to 8 AM and he would walk he said through the woods. To a water testing center Ernie test me go back and say look I didn't you know was 42 months not ten years but -- campus a totally different situation. Don't think for a minute judge -- Indian factor that in to consideration to. When she gave him that sentence she might went right to attend. To say I don't want this man on federal prison I want him going to keep up just -- one of the smartest people -- -- Not more is -- as far as people -- she knew exactly what she was doing today she gave it great thought and deliberation. And she did what she thought was best that she gave -- ten years and that's a big big big deal for Ray Nagin. And -- Mike and as you said before but let's elaborate a little bit. People poisoning it's funny so when they hear ten it's sort of a shock. And now people are reacting and isn't enough he messed up this community he wasn't very abandoned even the judge mentions that he wasn't there when we needed them. Many times. But his life is ruined. It really does what does he have left. No money. No home. I mean his wife is going back to work. He's not going to be able see the grand kids grow. Well we talked about this on. Here this morning that it it really is is sort of a Greek tragedy here where you have. A man who. Was from humble beginnings was able to get educated was able to. -- rise to them to the Joba being then they head official with the Cox cable Louisiana then became mayor of New Orleans. Only to lose at all her and I think one of the things that that. People were talking about after the sentence came down is that for all his misdeeds. For all his criminal activity. What did Ray Nagin actually gained. Not 500000 dollars not 84000 dollars. -- -- -- His wife's and his family is is taking assistance for the first time I ever. So he didn't gain much for for what he did. And any sentence like this is a relative of course. If you look at the former congressman bill Jefferson. Everybody was shocked kind of in the opposite direction when he got thirteen years which was on the high end of his range. And here we have Ray Nagin getting ten. Somewhat in a similar range of sand that everyone's shocked. That this second is is so low. You know Angela we talked about it. How will we do our broadcast earlier today. I think she was thinking about Edwin Edwards when she imposed the ten year sentence Edwin -- look at where he is present tense. He successfully did his ten year sentence he's now running for congress. And I think she thought if I give Ray Nagin who's now 58 years old if I give him a ten year sentence. I will have done justice to the community will have given him double digits a decade in jail before good time. I lived on my duty. And yet I'm not going to ruin his life I am not giving him a life sentence on my given name of death sentence. I'm giving you a sentence he can do a lot Edwin Edwards and these can still come out. And he can make the decision whether or not he wants to be a productive member of society. And that may well have been what she was thinking about if you have the governor of -- Louisiana. Who is convicted of public bribery he gets ten years. And if you had the mayor of the city in the world ones who gets convicted of public bribery if you give them a consistent set as of ten years you -- being consistent they may be as simple as a. And consider this for all of these schemes. Did you hear very pointed out that million. Profited very little. And in fact sheet in her comments he compared -- to the co conspirators and her quote was. Mr. Nagin claimed a much smaller share of the profits of this conspiracy. Than any of the other members and what she's saying is that. A broken any of the background. He didn't do it well. And that's what that's what you're saying moral last but it. Did the actual game. The fact that -- -- he does not have. Much to fall back on I'm sure you win it's your calculations. Well let's talk about you know much talked that he was making 400000 dollars -- -- of Cox cable. And then he becomes the mayor which pays 130. And forty. Something like that -- important significant. Cut but should know what going in. And she has I've heard said that she was in it for the long haul he knew. That he was taking this company had a and some savings his home was paid for. Then what happened. And and you hear that excuse from some public officials and and this is an attributable today again that. That they're coming out of a CEO position where they're making. Hundreds of thousands of dollars are making good six figures and then that's our suddenly is on the public payroll. And that's what they used to justify. Their misdeeds and I'm not saying that that's what Megan's thinking was here but you -- a lot from. Politicians that suddenly find themselves. Heading to jail. Course thinking. You know you're not dumb you want to be mayor you know with the salary is you know which have been making you know you have a lifestyle you know they have responsibilities. For him -- say I was in it for the long haul for eight years. Well I think what's with sticks with most people in New Orleans and those we've talked to is. Nagin was meeting with the Frankfurt jealous of the world. At a time when this city was at its darkest hour that you had. The city and 80% of the city underwater. Needing to be rebuilt. And negatives behind closed doors meeting with -- shady businessman. And I think that's what sticks with people at the most and -- have heard other. Politicians talk about we will never know. How much money was left on the table. After Hurricane Katrina they could help New Orleans simply because people did not want to deal with -- -- and. And I think that's a key point -- up. Judge Berrian even pointed that out. That as her in her words he abandoned his integrity during Hurricane Katrina when the city was most in need of strong leadership. And I think that that's how they will be remembered as they Katrina mayor. He clearly. Dropped the ball and now we've come to find out he's hiding illegal deals for himself at a time when he was. Not separate in the city to that that disaster. So that might be the root of some of public anger over this light -- That is -- stay with -- everyone and not Patrick you've been holding mortgage he was analyst Craig thank you so much will be right back financial on WL. Back to Angela hill on WWL. Steve Ballmer. Talk about what happened today in his -- by the very good and very interest. And that is there are now. In the future it's going to be great -- first it's going to be Frankfurt fell -- And contractor Ronnie Williams or going to be sentenced in the upcoming days and months contractor -- Williams sends this month July 30. And Greg and effort and until September homes -- Franklin -- until September but what does this what does this mean to them. I think did it in that the news that the feds are gonna look at what their help was in this case and possibly others. And then determine whether they are entitled to a downward departure from the -- crimes and it in all his. How much help that they provide on this case and others. -- actually had mixed emotions if you're Greg effort to give Greg referees say. Well I hope he gets a big sentence because then the government will be able to tell my sentencing judge. Judge look we gave Ray Nagin a twenty year sentence based upon the tremendous cooperation of Greg reference. Yet on the other hand Greg Methodist warning he has the opinion that. Well if we sent the benchmark at ten and then I'm gonna get much less than ten so as far as Greg -- goes. This is really not a bad thing because now a rainmaking got ten. Greg Medford should be rewarded for his cooperation. And yet the benchmark is now lower than we thought it was going to be before and may work to his benefit. What about that same year he helped the government as well. This -- were to poll I think he's gonna be filing was called rule 35. That is judge I help the government in the prosecution -- Ray Nagin even I think justified they came to the prison and they interviewed me and I gave them some background. And I give him a bunch of formation. I think you'll -- rule 35 base -- I'm hearing from perhaps is council. And I think that he'll be rewarded and I think he will get a sentence cut and you know saint Pierre has mixed emotions he's like well. I really got residue because I got to seventeen and a half. But yet now -- got ten that's probably a good thing for me now because I think it was judge Fallon who has his sentencing judge I can go to five judge -- as we gonna judge. Maybe you only got ten and I help against Megan you need to rule reward meet you need to cut -- sentence significantly so many dynamics involved in this sentenced today. I tell you hit too many of us who are listening to all this I think the thing would be. If you're ever given a deal take it. Well Gordon Russell did a great article today in the in the morning epic you know I'm looking at -- hard copy there. Where all the people if you look at all the numbers right there. If you look at all the numbers of the people who pled guilty yes no I got over five years as as our call from reading the paper this morning. So if you're offered a five year conspiracy count which caps and sixty months. You're gonna get a five K if you cooperate. You're gonna do only do 85%. If you look at all the people who pled guilty they weren't rewarded. Four they're guilty plea. We're talking about people like Aaron Broussard. Jefferson Parish president and Eddie price from. Group of medical mayor Eddie price they've got 48 months and flattens parish sheriff Jeff -- Awful that category as attorneys like to say the best deal you can cut. Is the one you cut yesterday. It can't be soon enough which really scary Angeles give you Michael is. I was told pre indictment we -- -- and -- it was January of 2013. He was offered a three year maximum now I -- I'm not be able confirm that but that's a pretty reliable source they gave it to me before indictment three years. Right before trial. Of February of 2014 he was our January 2014 he was offered a five year Max -- Skin has repeatedly said not his deal has gotten worse. And you would think he really when he got punished today because but it really wasn't as bad today as it could have been. It's it's like batteries federal judge John Parker used to always say. That the co conspirators that is the first to the station. Gets the best seat on the train of justice. I was actually true in practice how do you remember such an incredible quotes like that as I guess the big bucks and you. He you do get the big bucks -- lets talk to Patrick you've been holding on for so long thank you very much for calling. But yes students most all. Corruption folks that are tried in federal court. Go to what is referred to as camp. They could be yet there air force base up in Montgomery Alabama or it. Pensacola or even out in. Can't -- The one that's out there and never allowed to walk around freely. They pick up that trash -- police debates one -- the major criteria it says they can't get caught with alcohol. Now now it's not a punishment. Very I actually basic training center in Angola. Prison. Thank you Patrick very much for calling in holding on Craig. Questions about beyond technicalities. For greater -- your expert Torrey. Who so ruled procedure. So -- number 53. How -- that that the judge oh well the immediate to a twenty to ten block and brought -- during the trial. Especially given light that in 2010 in calling for a purpose there at the US Supreme Court did that -- The total rules basically. For so well. And you can I take deviate from them but it did it the birds so there's substantial write about how does that happen. I'm not familiar with rule 53 but -- old tea. I don't similar mr. Jenkins on a three I don't think mr. Jenkins had an objection to it. If he had an objection the last -- three may be judged -- you would have ruled differently but I will tell you the whole federal court in the -- -- of Louisiana has become very progressive. We have several the other judges in Danziger case to Glover case. They have opened up the media. I'll say it has been so professionally handled by the judges we have an overflow courtroom. What we can lay laptops -- and -- pads and and we have been very -- that court is being very progressive. In allowing the media to cover the trials. And trust me judge -- is not gonna violated rule 53 or any other rule. That doesn't allow her to do this I am quite certain she is full authority to do -- she did what she thought was best. -- agree particularly big -- -- core group over a federal court so well for third. There's only one United States of America federal court system I'm quite sure well I think up. I think our judges in these -- very progressive Craig thank you very much for calling an Anthony hold on. We we're gonna have to go again but I can't think these three people enough they've been working like dogs had to come up and spend a whole -- means more than you now. You're always invited here thank you I want everyone to stay with this we're going to have -- rock feel going in actually come up for the next hour along with doctor penny from southern. And them are going to have Robert Jenkins for the third hour stay with this financial on WWL.