Nagin seeks delay in trial amid Danziger fallout

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wwltv.com

Posted on September 19, 2013 at 12:59 PM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 23 at 2:36 PM

Paul Murphy / Eyewitness News
Email: pmurphy@wwltv.com | Twitter: @pmurphywwl

NEW ORLEANS - A judge's stunning decision to order a new trial in the Danziger police shootings case is already spilling over into another high-profile federal case.

Thursday, attorney Robert Jenkins filed a motion to delay former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin's upcoming public corruption trial.

Nagin was a frequent target of at least one of the former federal prosecutors involved in posting improper online comments before and during the 2011 trial of five former New Orleans police officers.

They were convicted in the cover-up and shooting of unarmed civilians on the Danziger Bridge after Hurricane Katrina struck the city in 2005.

This week, U.S. District Judge Kurt Engelhardt called the commenting "highly unusual, extensive and truly bizarre," and threw out the convictions.

Jenkins is asking that Nagin's trial be postponed until a final report on the online posting scandal is completed by the Department of Justice's special investigator John Horn. Horn is the First Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia.

Jenkins wrote, "...based upon Judge Engelhardt's findings, it is plain that neither fair play, nor due process were respected as a result of misconduct by local federal prosecutors."

"Mr. Jenkins is making a very solid point," said WWL-TV Legal Analyst Jason Williams. "If in fact, you may find out that people worked on the Nagin case that were blogging, that's going to be an issue."

In June 2009, former senior prosecutor in New Orleans Sal Perricone made this online post under the name campstblue: "For all of you who have a penchant for firearms and how they work, Ray Nagin lives on Park Island."

In May 2009, campstblue wrote, "...the Nagin administration has exceeded the Marc Morial administration in denying the citizens of New Orleans of their right to honest government, for profit."

It is unclear if the other two accused prosecutors, former First Assistant U.S. Attorney Jan Mann or Karla Dobinski, a senior trial attorney at the Justice Department's Washington, DC based Civil Rights Division posted comments about Nagin.

Jenkin's wrote, "Postings by one or both of them as well as other federal prosecutors affect Mr. Nagin and his ability to obtain a fair trial as well as his concerns as to whether due process and impartial proceedings have occurred during the pre-indictment stages."

Nagin's request for a new trial is now expected to be heard by Judge Ginger Berrigan on October 9.

"I think they might get a delay to give them time to flush it out," said Williams. "If they can show her something to suggest there's a connection. I think they may be able to do it."

Nagin's trial is now scheduled to begin October 28.

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