Nagin, feds may soon reach plea agreement - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Nagin, feds may soon reach plea agreement

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New Orleans, La. -

Sources tell FOX 8 News that plea negotiations between the government and former New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin have intensified. One source says a deal could be reached soon, possibly this week.

Listening to Ray Nagin's attorney, it does not appear that any deal between the former mayor and prosecutors was imminent.

"His position has always been consistent, that he did nothing improper, I can tell you that," attorney Robert Jenkins told FOX 8 reporter Rob Masson, not far from federal court Monday. "There's nothing going on, I promise you that."

When asked whether Nagin has been meeting with prosecutors, Jenkins replied, "I can't discuss any of the case itself. But what I can tell you is that I don't have information about anything going on."

But sources tell FOX 8 that a plea deal could be coming soon.

"It sure likes their case is ready to go," said FOX 8 legal analyst Joe Raspanti. "They have a stable full of witnesses in the starting gate, ready to bolt to the finish line, and I think that is very much stimulating the conversations."

One source tells us that conversation between Jenkins and prosecutors even took place over the weekend, and that this case could come to a head this week.

"It makes sense, based upon what we know," Raspanti told us. "And the case sure looks like it's ready to go, from the outsider perspective. So I'd have to think that it's put up or shut up time for Mr. Nagin."

Raspanti says prosecutors have likely used Nagin's children in negotiations. Former city vendor Rodney Williams admitted to making payments to a granite company owned by Nagin and his kids. Williams also admitted to making cash payments to close family members of Nagin.

"Of course that's what's pushing him to the negotiating table," said Raspanti. "We know that he's looking out for his own well-being… When you start threatening people's children and their well-being, it gets your attention."

Last year, Nagin's kids were called before the grand jury. When we asked Jenkins whether he felt that contributed to the feds' case against his client, he told us, "I can't say whether his sons appeared or not. I have no information that they did. I've read the reports in the media, but I have no information that they appeared or they didn't."

Federal prosecutors have spent the past several months collecting records from Nagin. It appears this case could come to a close later this month.

We also asked Nagin's attorney how difficult the case has been for the former mayor. Jenkins replied, "It's always difficult for anyone when their names have been placed out in the media, in the public about things that have allegedly been going on. We're just going to wait and see what happens."

Nagin has rejected at least one prior deal from the government. A source says that took place sometime last year.

But our sources say the negotiations now are different. And again, it's possible a deal could be reached soon.

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