Nagin's attorney says his client is innocent - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Nagin's attorney says his client is innocent

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New Orleans, La. -

Just hours after a federal grand jury handed up an indictment against former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, his attorney says he's innocent of all charges.

Robert Jenkins says he was surprised by Friday's indictment but that Nagin will fight the charges against him.

Jenkins says he's been in talks with prosecutors for quite some time about the case they've been building against Nagin. Both sides had another meeting scheduled, Jenkins says, so he was caught off guard when a federal grand jury indicted the former mayor Friday morning.

"We had had some conversations with the government that we were going to speak, I guess next week, before anything happened, and what happened today was totally a surprise in terms of an indictment," Jenkins said.

FOX 8 legal analyst Joe Raspanti says he finds that hard to believe.

"Everybody around town was talking about it coming the next couple of days, so I know Robert had to have some thought about that.  So I really don't get that," Raspanti said.

Jenkins says he and Nagin will proceed to trial, although he's not totally ruling out the idea of a plea deal. In fact, Jenkins thinks the government will use Nagin's two sons to try to get him to sign a deal.

"There's always been this indication about whether or not the children or something would be indicted. So at this point they're not, so that's probably something the government will probably say, 'Look, we didn't indict them, will you come in?'" Jenkins commented.

As for the evidence, laid out in the indictment, that former business associates allegedly gave Nagin bribes, Jenkins says consider the source. "Well, you have to look at what they're getting out of it," Jenkins said.

The lawyer says Nagin feels confident that his name will be cleared.  "He was in good spirits," Jenkins told FOX 8.  "He said, 'I did nothing wrong and I'm going to defend myself.'"

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