NEW ORLEANS -- Former Mayor Ray Nagin is preparing to go to trial. On Wednesday, he gave forceful not guilty pleas to 21 public corruption charges.
It was a fairly standard arraignment with no big surprises. But from all indications, plea discussions are off, and at least for now, Nagin appears to be determined to get his day in court.
It was a difficult stroll in the park for the man who led New Orleans as mayor for eight years.
Nagin had little to say as he met the media that greeted him in front of federal court for the start of his arraignment:
Nagin is charged in a 21 count indictment accusing him of accepting bribes and gratuities from city contractors in exchange for lucrative city contracts.
Among the allegations, Nagin received $200,000 in kickbacks, free loads of granite for a family business and trips to Hawaii and Jamaica.
“Just like I indicated what we’re going to do, we’re going to follow the judge’s orders and rules and move forward. That’s all we can do,” said Robert Jenkins, Nagin’s attorney.
Nagin stood before the federal magistrate and pleaded not guilty to 21 charges including fraud, money laundering, bribery and filing false tax returns.
“The magistrate today went through each and every count. How do you plea to count one? Not guilty was pretty much his tune,” said Eyewitness News legal analyst Donald “Chick” Foret.
Nagin had nothing to say as he left the courthouse.
“We don’t have any comment. But, we’re preparing for trial,” Jenkins said. “That’s all I can tell you.”
The trial is now set for April 29.
Until then Nagin remains free on a $100,000 bond with travel restricted to the states of Texas, where he now lives, and Louisiana.