|Internet Photo of Clarence Ray Nagin, Former New Orleans Mayor|
During the lunch rush at Lucy’s restaurant, a few blocks away from the federal courthouse in downtown New Orleans, the Nagin trial was a hot topic. Some said the former mayor’s legal woes continue to hurt New Orleans’ reputation, as the city continues to struggle rebuilding, since Hurricane Katrina. “I remember there was a lot of hope in the city when he was elected,” said Fred Fournet. “A lot of people thought he was really going to be the kind of change we needed to give us a clean slate and it’s unfortunate and if he’s guilty, he should go to jail.”
The 57-year-old who went from cable network management to New Orleans mayor in 2002, is on trial for allegedly orchestrating pay to play politics system, from 2002-2010. The stakes are high. The government’s 21-count indictment accuses Nagin of pocketing more than $300,000 in bribes, a combination of cash, gifts and products from business owners, in exchange for lucrative contracts in the city.
|Photo Courtesy of Jeff Ray for Southern Belle Productions|
The final jury selection from the pool of 60 will consist of 12 members plus four alternates. Experts predict a jury will be seated Wednesday. The courthouse is closed Tuesday due to an arctic blast bringing freezing rain to throughout Louisiana. The trial could last up to three weeks.