NEW ORLEANS - Major developments are expected in federal court on Wednesday, where a Covington businessman faces two charges of bribing a public official.
Although the official is not named in the charges, it is believed to be former Mayor Ray Nagin.
Covington businessman Frank Fradella was in federal court on Tuesday, where an alleged securities fraud case from Texas was transferred to New Orleans.
Prosecutors filed a two count bill of information that charged Fradella with providing payoffs to "Public Official A," who was an agent of the city from 2002 through 2010. The time period is the same when Nagin was mayor and could sign city contracts and payoffs may be worth $5,000 or more.
The counts include the conspiracy to commit bribery, wire fraud, and honest services fraud in New Orleans and false certification of financial reports in Texas.
Fradella was charged with making payoffs to public official a starting in 2007, a time when Fradella's company had lucrative contracts with the city. Prosecutors said "Public Official A" used his official capacity to help Fradella's business.
Though Nagin is not named, Eyewitness News Legal Analyst Donald "Chick" Foret said these developments are significant for the former mayor.
"This is a very strong bill of information. It's well worded. It's well drafted. It's very specific. The dates that are used in the bill of information...were clearly picked out specifically to send a message and to make it clear to everybody that 'Public Official A' was the agent of the city of New Orleans during that time period. It clearly matches up with the former Mayor Ray Nagin. And, Mr. Smith yesterday [Tuesday,] the lawyer for Mr. Fradella, made it very clear, I thought, on these very court house steps that he was talking about Ray Nagin. He did not specifically say the name Ray Nagin, but he all but said the name Ray Nagin...the phrase that he used was about, 'If he looks like a duck, and walks like a duck, then maybe it is a duck,'" Foret said. "I think we certainly can infer from the proceedings that we have seen so far that the person, 'Public Official A,' who is referred to in this two count bill of information is indeed Ray Nagin."
Wednesday morning's hearing, as well as Fradella's expected guilty plea, is scheduled for 10 a.m.
Calls to Nagin's attorney for comment have not been returned.