NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin asked a federal judge Wednesday to throw out his indictment on bribery charges, saying the case has been tainted by prosecutorial misconduct.
The alleged misconduct includes anonymous online posts about Nagin by a former federal prosecutor, said Nagin’s lawyer, Robert Jenkins.
The former mayor pleaded not guilty in February to charges he accepted bribes, free trips and other gratuities from contractors in exchange for helping them secure millions of dollars in city work.
Jenkins asked for a copy of a sealed Justice Department report on anonymous comments by at least three federal prosecutors, but U.S. District Judge Helen Berrigan rejected the request Wednesday.
Jenkins argued in a court filing there is also other evidence of prosecutorial misconduct that will deprive his client of a fair trial, which is scheduled to start on Oct. 28.
Nagin was the subject of anonymous posts by former prosecutor Sal Perricone, who was a top deputy to former U.S. Attorney Jim Letten. Perricone resigned after acknowledging his online activities, which also led to Letten’s resignation.
“It is not merely coincidental that the derogatory and damaging online postings by former government counsel occurred during the precise timeframe that the investigation of (Nagin) began,” Jenkins wrote.
Last month, U.S. District Judge Kurt Engelhardt cited evidence of “grotesque” prosecutorial misconduct in ordering a new trial for five former New Orleans police officers. They were convicted of civil rights violations in the deadly Danzinger Bridge shootings following Hurricane Katrina.
Engelhardt said at least three government attorneys, including Perricone, posted anonymous comments on The Times-Picayune’s companion website and created a “carnival atmosphere” that perverted justice.
The Justice Department appointed John Horn, a veteran federal prosecutor from Georgia, to investigate the online commenting scandal and other allegations of prosecutorial misconduct and report his findings to Engelhardt. The report has been kept under seal.
Berrigan ruled Nagin didn’t need the report to defend himself at trial.
“The jury, and only the jury, will determine whether the defendant is innocent or proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt,” she wrote.
Jenkins said Perricone’s negative comments about Nagin are only a “partial picture of the extent of government misconduct.”
“The government not only acted illegally, but apparently sought to conceal its actions,” he wrote.
Nagin’s indictment was the product of a City Hall corruption investigation that already has resulted in guilty pleas by two former city officials and two businessmen and a prison sentence for a former city vendor.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (6/18-6/24)
25 photos Launch gallery
1. Me & the homie @jaleelwhite #RujohnFoundation Happy to be in Jamaica! Good times
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5. Good Morning. Early day in Detroit! Making press rounds for @thebossnetwork's Ladies That Lead Tour. Thank you @traycemadre and @colourbynumbr for my glam.
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6. POWER the best show on TV @djenvy, Queens we so big out here. #EFFENVODKA #FRIGO
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7. They said u lost a step, wasn't explosive as once was, the best days was in the real view, questioned your drive, your leadership, your commitment, you don't have killer instinct, going back home is the worst mistake in your career, he got the coach fired, players traded, won't work between him and Kyrie, Him and Kev won't work, love your teammates to much, there's no way he can deliver a championship in his hometown, etc etc etc.... But guess what THATS NONE OF MY BUSINESS #StriveForGreatness #ThisOneIsForTheLand #PutSomeRespeckOnMyName Hahahaha!!! Yes sir
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8. Oooooh weeee this man right here is responsible for at least three of our four babies!! #JOE ❤❤❤🎤 #rnb #king #voicelikebutter #ForPeetesSake
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9. Hanging with my @abcnetwork family! @abcunclebuck tonite y'all check us out ! @anthonyanderson @traceeellisross
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10. My broski ( @sayeedshahidi ) and I are on Top 5 Live on @go90 at 5 (which is super duper close)! Make sure to tune in :) #UncleBuck #Blackish
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11. Lights out💤 #GoodNight
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12. Late nights mornings
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13. Ran into the lovely talented @siedahgarrett on this brutiful favvuz deh!
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14. #halal #love #thedargans #kattwilliamsSHOW #mashallah when that Jennah piece HIT!! @sweetjennahcollection glasses by @baddieglamaccessories LIZ 😍 @dynamiteko top @dazzledmv and jeans @thevision414 and shoes: @louboutinworld
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15. Big Hair and Optical Illusions #OceanDrive #MiamiLiving #coverparty
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16. MAMA and THE SAVAGES ... ⚓️ #supportyourlocalgirlgang
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17. From the bottom of my ❤️, thank you new followers & old! & hello fellow night owls! #grateful #racheltrue #naturalhair #curlyhair #curlygirl #healthyhair
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18. I feel so grateful because I met these amazing young minds, visiting from Houston TX, during their college tour stop today at #usc.These students are ALL extraordinary and embody academic excellence so I'm humbled to have shared a few moments with them to applaud and celebrate their bright futures ahead! Thank you @EmergeFellows for inviting me to speak and blessing me with your love and attention this afternoon!
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19. Happy Fathers Day Pops. U taught me how to be a man. Lessons of love, hard work & gratefulness. Sorry the fishing didn't stick. LOL. I Love U!
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20. Sky Zone and Ice Cream! Best Fathers Day Ever!! Photo credit @mariahcarey
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21. Look what finally came in the mail 😎 #mtvmovieawards2016 💥+🌽! #straightouttacompton
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22. Claudia Jordan: ....
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23. 'Member that time I almost knocked a bajillion dollar camera off the car? Really? Yeah, me neither! #Greenleaf Episode 2 comin atcha!
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24. Full of love. #birthday #Cabo
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25. Oh hey! Look who just joined Snapchat
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