Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin Sentenced To Decade In Prison For Bribery
Just out from Dow Jones:
- Former New Orleans Mayor Nagin Sentenced to 10 Years in Federal Prison for Corruption
- New Orleans Mayor During Hurricane Katrina Headed to Federal Prison for 10 Years After Conviction for Trading City Business for Cash, Trips, Other Favors
And from the WSJ:
Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin was sentenced to 10 years in prison for bribery, money laundering and other corruption that spanned his two terms as mayor--including the chaotic years after Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005.
Mr. Nagin was convicted Feb. 12 of accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars from businessmen who wanted work from the city or Mr. Nagin's support for various projects. The bribes came in the form of money, free vacations and truckloads of free granite for his family business. The 58-year-old Democrat had defiantly denied any wrongdoing after his 2013 indictment and during his February trial.
Finally from the NYT:
C. Ray Nagin, the former mayor of New Orleans who was convicted in February on corruption charges, was sentenced to 10 years in prison on Wednesday in federal court in New Orleans. Mr. Nagin was found guilty in February on 20 counts, most relating to kickbacks from contractors looking for city work. The sentence was imposed by Judge Ginger Berrigan of United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana.
Mr. Nagin, a Democrat, was arrested in January 2013, nearly three years after he left office. He was charged with taking kickbacks in the form of cash, cross-country trips or help with the family-run granite countertop company; the bribes were handed out by men looking for city business ranging from software supplies to sidewalk repair. Many of the schemes, though not all, took place after Hurricane Katrina, when contractors crowded into the city for rebuilding work.
Many of those involved eventually pleaded guilty and testified at length against Mr. Nagin at his trial.
The corruption had been so thoroughly covered in the local news media that few people were surprised by the verdicts. Mr. Nagin had come into office in 2002 as a reformer from the business world and a foe of cronyism. But the city grew frustrated with his stewardship, particularly in his second term when the rebuilding after Hurricane Katrina stalled and Mr. Nagin seemed unengaged. By the time he left office in 2010, many in New Orleans had moved past frustration and were simply ready to see him go.
Throughout the trial the courtroom was half-empty, except for a riveting two days when Mr. Nagin took the stand and denied everything, at times with a glib dismissal. At one point he even refused to recognize his own signature on receipts that federal prosecutors displayed on a large screen.
In a court filing urging a stiff sentence, federal prosecutors described Mr. Nagin’s testimony as “a performance that can only be summed up by his astounding unwillingness to accept any responsibility,” and listed in detail 22 instances in which they said he had lied on the witness stand. As they had at trial, prosecutors also contrasted Mr. Nagin’s attention to detail in some of the kickback schemes with what many came to see as his lackadaisical stewardship in office.
“These repeated violations, at the expense of the citizens of New Orleans in a time when honest leadership was needed most, do not deserve leniency,” wrote Matthew M. Coman, an assistant United States attorney.
And so, following Rod Blagojevich, another prominent Democrat ends up in prison for corruption, a sentence one assumes will be shortened to a few years for good behavior. Which does beg the question: just when will Jon Corzine be released from prison?
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