Analyst: Letten resignation won't impact Nagin case
Jay Vise Reporting
As federal officials appear ready to indict former Mayor Ray Nagin on corruption charges, one local legal analyst says the abrupt resignation by U.S. Attorney Jim Letten should not impact the investigation or prosecution.
"I can't imagine it would have any effect on it one way or the other," says Loyola Law Professor Dane Ciolino.
Ciolino says the troubles that engulfed the office have apparently not bled over into the ongoing investigation of alleged misconduct by Nagin.
"Obviously, Mr. Letten is not involved with the day-to-day handling of these investigations and prosecutions. That's handled by his career prosecutors, and those prosecutors that are responsible for the Nagin investigation certainly haven't been implicated in the blogging, and have been working on this case for years."
According to Ciolino, the fact that the case has not been handed off to the Department of Justice in Washington is a sign that the New Orleans U.S. Attorney's office will continue on track to likely indict Nagin very soon.
"There are deadlines running on any indictment that may come for Mr. Nagin," Ciolino said. "Statute of limitations run on some of the prosecution counts against him next month. So that investigation can't slow down, and I can't imagine it will.
Ciolino expects federal prosecutors to indict Nagin by mid-January.
Two former associates of Nagin have pleaded guilty to bribery of an unnamed public official in return for lucrative business contracts from the City of New Orleans during the Nagin administration.
According to Ciolino and other analysts, that "unnamed official" is Nagin.