NEW ORLEANS -- Former Mayor Ray Nagin has received a subpoena to appear before a federal grand jury Friday as it investigates payments and gratuities he allegedly received in office.
While the subpoena calls for Nagin's appearance at federal court, he may be able to avoid showing up in person. He is only being asked to produce documents and attest to their authenticity, according to multiple sources who have seen the subpoena.
Criminal defense attorneys say they often deliver such documents to the U.S. Attorney’s Office ahead of time, with affidavits from their clients, so their clients don’t have to invoke their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
But the U.S. Attorney’s Office holds the cards and can demand that Nagin physically appear.
However, sources tell Eyewitness News that if Nagin is compelled to appear before the panel, he will refuse to provide any substantive testimony and plead the Fifth if necessary.
Nagin has been the focus of grand jury probe looking at contracts, travel and business perks allegedly received by the former mayor. Several former Nagin associates have been convicted and are cooperating with the investigation.
In June, a former city contractor, Frank Fradella, pleaded guilty to conspiring to bribe "Public Official A," who is otherwise known to be Nagin. Fradella said his Nagin accepted a $50,000 payoff and what could amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars more in free granite for the Nagin family countertop business – the now defunct Stone Age LLC.
Fradella also admitted setting Nagin up with a consulting gig after he left office in May 2010. Sources say Fradella paid Nagin about $10,000 a month from late 2010 through March 2011.
Fradella's plea deal followed a guilty plea by former city technology officers Greg Meffert and Anthony Jones and the conviction of former technology contractor Mark St. Pierre, who paid for Nagin and his family to travel first class to Hawaii, Jamaica and Chicago.
Nagin has not been charged with a crime and has denied wrongdoing. His criminal attorney, Robert Jenkins, did not respond to requests for comment.