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Posted: Friday, 07 February 2014 3:09PM

Why no Nagin plea bargain?

Why didn't Ray Nagin accept a plea bargain, one that was reportedly offered from the very start?  Legal analyst Dane Ciolino says even if Nagin's lawyer suggested that route,  it's up to the client to make the ultimate decision.

Ciolino feels Nagin refused a deal with the government because he believed he could convince the jury of his innocence.

''Of course, if they don't believe it and they believe the governments witnesses, then he's got big trouble,'' said Ciolino.

Ciolino says he thinks Nagin wanted to put up a fight, despite the lure of a more lenient sentence.

''He wanted the opportunity to talk his way out of it,'' he said.

Taking the stand was also a gamble for Nagin but one Ciolino says he had to take. If found guilty, Ciolino says Nagin could pay dearly for not taking a bargain: a prison sentence that could end up being two to three times longer than what prosecutors may have offered.  

Ciolino thinks if Nagin is convicted, he could face between 15 to 20 years.

CLICK HERE for Don Dubuc's interview with Loyola School of Law professor Dane Ciolino.


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