Indicted former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin is scheduled to appear in federal court for his arraignment this afternoon.
Former associates and colleagues of Nagin are apparently set to testify that the former mayor traded the influence for cash and other bribes in exchange for allegedly steering millions of dollars in city business to certain individuals.
Greg Meffert, who modernized the city's website and other information technology, pleaded guilty to accepting bribes and kickbacks from Mark St. Pierre, a city contractor. Nagin went on lavish tropical vacations with Meffert which the former mayor says he thought was paid for by his employee, but Meffert says that money actually came from St. Pierre.
In June, another former city supplier, Frank Fradella, pleaded guilty to bribing an unnamed New Orleans official $50,000 and giving that official free granite for the official's family's business. Legal experts say that "unnamed official" is almost certainly Ray Nagin.
More recently, local businessman Rodney Williams agreed to cooperate with investigators after allegedly paying off an "unnamed city official" payoffs in exchange for steering city work to Williams between 2007 and 2010.
In the case against Fradella, prosecutors say he provided truckloads of free granite to the unidentified official. The company run by Nagin's two sons obtained a contract to install granite countertops for local Home Depot stores after Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005.
Legal analyst Time Meche says there's still the possibility Nagin may play ball.
"It appears at least that they'll continue to have plea negotiations in the case," Meche said.
If no deals can be reached, Meche thinks trial won't begin until sometime next year.
"The lawyers will probably move to continue" the initial trial date set by the magistrate, said Meche. "We probably won't see a trial before the end of this year."