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Closing Arguments Begin In Nagin Corruption Trial

Closing Arguments Begin In Nagin Corruption Trial

Closing arguments will be presented this morning in the corruption trial of former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin.

The government will offer its arguments first, followed by the defense and prosecutors will be allowed to present a rebuttal.

Testimony ended Friday afternoon with Nagin as the final witness.  The jury heard from a total of 31 witnesses over six days, 26 of them were witnesses for the prosecution.

5 of the government's witnesses testified that they either bribed the former mayor directly or provided cash or gratuities to Nagin.

Tulane Law Professor and former federal prosecutor Tania Tetlow tells 99.5FM the government's case against Nagin seems very strong to her.

"He's up against a whole lot of evidence that he was improperly receiving lots of money and valuables from city contractors at the same time he was giving them business, and that's pretty hard to argue around," Tetlow said.

Tetlow describes Nagin's performance on the witness stand as "fearless and at times very charming."

"He will be trying to persuade at least one juror that he is an honest, sincere guy. He's up against, though, mountains of evidence that he has to explain," Tetlow said.

When Nagin left the stand after two days of testimony, he said "Thank you, Jesus" which got a few laughs in the courtroom.

Nagin spent much of his time on the stand facing question after question from federal prosecutors on whether or not he solicited bribes in return for city business, along with questionable personal spending on a city credit card.

In response, Nagin would often give vague answers, claim not to remember, or put the blame on someone else.

When asked if he sold his office, Nagin answered "No."

He also raised his voice near the end of cross-examination to once again deny he ever solicited money for his sons' granite business.

LISTEN: Denny Schaffer and Joe Raspanti talk about Nagin Trial 2/10/14

 

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