Bribery Trial Opens For Ex-New Orleans Mayor

Jan 27, 2014

Jury selection began Monday in the trial of former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, who faces charges that he accepted bribes and free trips among other things from contractors in exchange for helping them secure millions of dollars in city work.

Nagin, a Democrat who was mayor when Hurricane Katrina stuck in 2005, served two terms before leaving office in 2010. He was living in a Dallas suburb when a federal grand jury indicted him a year ago.

Nagin had little to say as he entered the federal courthouse with a noticeable limp.

Franklin Reyes / AP

Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin is scheduled to appear in federal court later this morning on corruption charges. Nagin is accused of taking bribes in exchange for city contracts.

Franklin Reyes / AP

The corruption trial of former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin is on track to start Monday. It’s been almost a year since Nagin pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Lawyers for a former BP engineer convicted of trying to obstruct a probe of the company's 2010 Gulf oil spill plan to seek the disqualification of the federal judge who presided over their client's trial last month.

In an order, U.S. District Judge Stanwood Duval Jr. says he received correspondence Tuesday in which Kurt Mix's lawyers argue for their first time that he must disqualify himself from the case because a spill-related civil claim had been filed on his behalf last year.

Jason Coleman / Creative Commons

Last week a state court of appeals ruled in favor of thousands of teachers who were fired just after Hurricane Katrina.

The court said more than 7,000 teachers were wrongly terminated, denied due legal process, and should have been considered for rehiring as schools reopened. The ruling, if upheld, would award the teachers years in back pay and benefits, though it’s not clear who would pay. The Orleans Parish School Board and the state have the option to appeal.

A union that represents 7,000 New Orleans teachers fired after Hurricane Katrina is expecting a flurry of phone calls. Word is quickly spreading of the state appeals court ruling awarding them back pay for wrongful termination.

Seven more jurors have been chosen to hear a class-action lawsuit against Jefferson Parish and its former president, Aaron Broussard, for Hurricane Katrina flooding.

The Times-Picayune reports Tuesday's action brings to 12 the number of people empaneled to hear evidence in the case.

Attorneys will return Wednesday for a third day of questioning prospective jurors in an attempt to select four more people who say they can be fair and impartial.

Louisiana Act 1: "Still Unconstitutional"

Jan 8, 2014

The Jindal administration and the Louisiana Federation of Teachers, a union, got to take a second bite of 2012’s Act 1 when the state Supreme Court sent the issue of the law’s constitutionality back to district court for a re-hearing.

19th District Judge R. Michael Caldwell says the apple is still poisoned, ruling again that the measure, sometimes called the “teacher tenure law”, is unconstitutional.

A Baton Rouge judge is reconsidering his decision to throw out Gov. Bobby Jindal's revamp of teacher tenure and salary laws.

Judge Michael Caldwell had ruled the legislation was unconstitutional because it bundled together too many items spanning Louisiana's education laws. But the Louisiana Supreme Court vacated Caldwell's decision and asked him to re-evaluate his ruling.

A federal trial is drawing to a close for a former BP drilling engineer charged with deleting text messages about the company's response to its massive 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Jurors are scheduled to hear closing arguments Monday in Kurt Mix's trial on two counts of obstruction of justice. Mix didn't testify at his trial, which started two weeks ago.

Mix pleaded not guilty to charges he deliberately deleted text messages to and from a supervisor and a BP contractor to stymie a grand jury's probe of the spill.