Cannon case speculation looms as federal grand jury meets

by: Jim Bradley Updated:

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. —

Federal prosecutors are expected to eventually seek an indictment against former Charlotte Mayor Pat Cannon. 

Despite a grand jury meeting at the federal courthouse today, it hasn't happened yet. Sources close to the case tell Eyewitness News they don't expect prosecutors to bring the case to the grand jury this week.

SEE MORE: Special section on criminal investigation of former Mayor Patrick Cannon

"It's a little surprising they're not indicting right away," said Charlotte criminal attorney James Wyatt. 
 
He said the reason could be as simple as investigators needing more time to go over evidence seized in the case.  Last week search warrants made public show the FBI seized everything from documents and calendars to financial records and cash.  They even took a gun and ammunition from Cannon's Ballantyne home.
 
"They'll want to look a those records to see what's there.  To see what corroborates the alleged payment of bribes and also to see if it leads to other avenues of investigation," Wyatt said.
 
Last month federal agents arrested Cannon after a three-year investigation. They said they recorded Cannon taking multiple bribes both before and after he became Charlotte's mayor.  They even said Cannon accepted a $20,000 cash bribe inside the mayor's office.
 
Some expected federal prosecutors to move quickly to seek an indictment against Cannon.  The criminal complaint filed in federal court accuses Cannon of bribery and wire fraud.  A formal indictment could add to those charges.
 
Wyatt said the delay in taking the case to the grand jury could indicate that the US Attorney's office, or Cannon's own attorney, is pursuing a possible plea deal. 
 
"If the government is seeking Mr. Cannon's cooperation and if he's willing to cooperate then there could be several debriefings where he is interviewed by the agents about what knowledge he has,” Wyatt said.
 
Neither side is commenting on the possibility of talks between the two sides.  Pat Cannon resigned as mayor just hours after his arrest.  He was elected to his first term as Charlotte mayor last November.