February 3, 2014

Nagin’s Democratic Party Affiliation Disappears at AP As Bribery Trial Begins

Though there were some exceptions (e.g., this one caught by Geoffrey Dickens at NewsBusters a few days ago), most press reports as the beginning of the trial of former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin tagged him as a Democrat.

Apparently, there’s a quota on “D” references at the Associated Press. A lengthy AP story by Kevin McGaill carried at Time.com and AP’s national site has no reference to Nagin’s party affiliation. Nagin was part of the odd couple of Democrats (former Governor Kathleen Blance is the other) who failed to do what they needed to do to prepare New Orleans and the Bayou State for Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Excerpts from the longer Time story follow the jump Excerpts from the longer Time story follow the jump (bolds identifying opportunites to identify Nagin’s party affiliation are mine):

Witness Says He Disguised $50K Bribe to Nagin


A former investment banker serving prison time for a New Jersey fraud scheme testified Monday that he helped arrange and disguise a $50,000 bribe to former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin.

Clad in an orange prison jumpsuit, Michael McGrath told jurors the bribe in 2008 was funneled through his daughter’s trust account to a company Nagin founded with his sons. McGrath said the bribe was in return for Nagin’s support for projects that Home Solutions hoped to manage, including the redevelopment of an old power plant into a residential and retail space, and a race car track. Neither project ever developed.

McGrath was a Home Solutions board member and his allegations backed up earlier trial testimony from Frank Fradella, the company’s former chief executive. McGrath said Fradella believed the mayor’s support was crucial to showing potential investors that Home Solutions could get work worth millions of dollars.

“The only value he was bringing to these projects was Ray Nagin,” McGrath said of Fradella.

Nagin was indicted on 21 counts after he left office in 2010. He is accused of accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes in return for helping contractors secure city business. Charges include bribery, money laundering, conspiracy and filing false tax returns.

Nagin’s attorneys have challenged the credibility of Fradella’s testimony and were expected to cross-examine McGrath later Monday.

… Testifying as part of a plea agreement with federal prosecutors, Fradella detailed an arrangement for consultant work that prosecutors say eventually led to $112,250 going to Nagin in the months after he left City Hall — payments prosecutors said constituted payoffs for favors during his time in office.

Nagin was mayor from 2002 to 2010, including the tumultuous period during and after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Obviously, McGill had all kinds of opportunities to tag Nagin as a Dem. Just another day in AP-Land, where Democratic Party labels are generally avoided and Republican Party labels usually make the headline or first paragraph.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.


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