AP NEWS

Imprisoned ex-mayor ordered to testify in civil case

May 9, 2017

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — An imprisoned former mayor of New Orleans has been ordered to give a deposition at the city’s federal courthouse in a lawsuit arising from landfill contracts following Hurricane Katrina.

Ray Nagin is serving a 10-year sentence on 20 federal corruption charges. He was mayor from 2002 to 2010. The convictions involved actions he took before and after Katrina hit in 2005.

He is to give testimony Friday in a lawsuit by Waste Management of Louisiana LLC against landfill company River Birch, and its owners Frederick Heebe (HEE’-bee) and Albert Ward. It includes allegations that River Birch made illegal campaign contributions to Nagin, leading Nagin to reverse his approval of a Waste Management landfill as a site for Katrina debris.

A federal investigation of Heebe ended after his lawyer discovered in 2012 that a federal prosecutor made anonymous online posts critical of Heebe and others. That led to the discovery that a second prosecutor was implicated in online posts. Both resigned in a scandal that also led to the departure of their boss, then-U.S. Attorney Jim Letten, who wasn’t implicated in online posts.

Heebe’s chief defense lawyer is Kyle Schonekas. The New Orleans Advocate reports (http://bit.ly/2q1rhHc) that Schonekas is expected to be nominated by President Donald Trump to be the next U.S. Attorney in New Orleans.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Karen Wells Roby’s order for a Nagin deposition says the former mayor is to testify in a courtroom, but it’s unclear whether the taking of the deposition will be open to the public.

Court records state that Nagin refused to be deposed at the federal prison in Texarkana, resulting in Roby’s order, issued last month, that he be brought to the New Orleans courthouse. The two sides filed a joint motion to depose Nagin at the courthouse.