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Nagin trial only two weeks away

Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin

New Orleans -- Some are calling it the biggest political corruption trial in New Orleans' history. Two weeks from tomorrow, former Mayor Ray Nagin is set to appear in court for the start of his federal corruption trial.

In January 2013, Nagin's indictment at federal court made local and national headlines. His attorney, Robert Jenkins told us Nagin was speaking with prosecutors. But one year later, no deal has been struck and Nagin is only two weeks away from going to trial.

FOX 8 legal analyst Joseph Raspanti says, "Everybody and their neighbor knows a deal has been on the table. What it is and what his thoughts are we won't know until the time we see the jury coming in or the time we see him taking his plea."

Last Wednesday, Nagin's attorney met with prosecutors for a pre-trial conference. They haggled over what potential jurors could be asked and worked out logistics. Outside court, Jenkins said the former mayor was prepared for trial and downplayed its significance. "He's doing fine, we're working hard to prepare. As I told you before, all of this, it seems like a big trial for you all but it's just a trial and the jury's going to make it decision so it's not as big as people are trying to make it seem," said Jenkins.

UNO political scientist Ed Chervenak disagrees saying, "Certainly it's a big deal locally when the city's former chief executive is indicted and is getting ready to go to trial, people are going to be talking about that so it is a big deal."

In fact, Chervenak believes the trial also could impact current political elections. "Having Ray Nagin front and certain in the media may remind people why they voted for Landrieu four years ago," said Chervenak.

On January 27th, jury selection is slated to begin. Raspanti says people will be asked about their knowledge of the case but it'll be difficult to find someone who doesn't know anything about Ray Nagin. Raspanti explains, "If you haven't known about Ray Nagin or read about Ray Nagin and his troubles with the court, then what kind of a thinking person are you? Are you intelligent enough to follow along at the trial because it sure seems as if you haven't been reading the papers lately so it seems like a double edged sword in my mind."

Raspanti thinks if everything moves forward and the trial takes place, Nagin could be exposed to serious jail time, if convicted.

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