Feds close in on former Mayor C. Ray Nagin? -- If the tea leaves at federal court are being interpreted correctly, former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin could be in a load of trouble. In two guilty pleas by two men, Nagin is widely believed to be the unnamed city official who allegedly accepted bribes in exchange for city contracts.

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In June, Frank Fradella, a Covington businessman, pleaded guilty to federal charges involving a New Orleans city official and began cooperating with federal investigators. Fradella's attorney Randy Smith suggested that the official was Nagin.

'It doesn't name him and it's not my right to name him,' Smith said. 'The government for whatever reason isn't calling the public official by name. But if it walks like a duck, talks like a duck, it's probably a duck right?'

In Fradella's guilty plea, he claimed to have given an unnamed city official -- 'Public Official 'A'' in court papers -- $50,000, $10,000 a month in consulting fees and a truck-load of granite in exchange for contracts.

In early December, Rodney Williams, a businessman, pleaded guilty to federal charges that he paid more than $62,000 to a granite countertop business owned by a City of New Orleans official and another $10,000 cash to the public official's close family members as payoffs for city contracts.

Just like Fradella, Williams is believed to have given the money to Nagin.

Despite the speculation, the former mayor has not been charged with any crime and prosecutors have yet to name him in court documents or in public, although Nagin has been spotted at federal court recently, only further fueling the speculation.

With a statute of limitations set to run out on some of the alleged bribes by Jan. 31, 2013, the next year might not be a better year for Nagin.

--Michael Luke--

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