New Orleans ex-mayor Ray Nagin has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for bribery, money laundering and other corruption charges.
Ray Nagin has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for bribery, money laundering and other corruption charges
Ray Nagin was convicted in February for accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes from businessmen.
Prosecutors say the bribes included the years immediately after Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005.
Ray Nagin was mayor from 2002 to 2010 and became the face of New Orleans worldwide during the disaster.
Ray Nagin, the former New Orleans mayor who was in office during Hurricane Katrina, has been found guilty of corruption.
Ray Nagin, 56, helped contractors secure millions of dollars of work in exchange for bribes, free trips and other gifts.
He was charged in January 2013. The former mayor was found guilty of 20 of the 21 charges against him.
Mayor of the city from 2002 to 2010, Ray Nagin was criticised for failing to implement his evacuation plan when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005.
Before the verdict was read, Ray Nagin said outside the New Orleans federal court that he had been “at peace with this for a long time”.
Ray Nagin was found guilty of 20 of the 21 charges against him
Prosecutors argued during his trial Ray Nagin took at least $500,000 in bribes, beginning before Hurricane Katrina but continuing during the city’s recovery.
The graft included money, free vacations and tonnes of free granite for the stone company Ray Nagin and his sons owned.
In exchange, the local businesses were awarded consulting and construction contracts with the city.
Ray Nagin, a Democrat who served two terms, was his defence lawyers’ chief witness.
During testimony Ray Nagin vehemently denied taking bribes, saying he was bound to approve contracts awarded to the lowest bidder or through a panel recommendation process.
At least four Ray Nagin associates have already pleaded guilty in the case. Defence lawyers also argued the prosecution’s case was built on the testimony of business owners who pleaded guilty in hopes of getting lighter sentences.
Among more than two dozen prosecution witnesses were five people who said they were involved in bribing the former mayor.
Each charge carries a sentence of three to 20 years, but how long he will serve is unclear.
Ray Nagin will remain free on bond but will be monitored, before his sentencing hearing, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported.
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Ray Nagin, New Orleans ex-mayor, has been charged with 21 federal counts of wire fraud, bribery, filing false tax returns and money laundering.
Ray Nagin, 56, mayor from 2002-10, came to national attention when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005.
Beginning in June 2004, Ray Nagin took payments, travel and other gratuities in exchange for city contracts and other favors, prosecutors said.
At least four of his associates have already pleaded guilty in the case.
“Mayor Nagin used his public office and his official capacity to provide favorable treatment that benefitted the business and financial interests of individuals providing him bribery/kickback payoffs,” the indictment reads.
According to the federal indictment, Ray Nagin accepted more than $160,000 in bribes from local businessman Frank Fradella.
Ray Nagin, New Orleans ex-mayor, has been charged with 21 federal counts of wire fraud, bribery, filing false tax returns and money laundering
In exchange, Ray Nagin helped Frank Fradella secure millions of dollars in contracts from the city in the wake of Katrina, including construction at the airport and sidewalk repair projects, prosecutors said.
Ray Nagin is also charged with accepting payoffs worth at least $60,000 from another businessman, Rodney Williams, who was given consulting and construction contracts with the city.
Frank Fradella and Rodney Williams have already pleaded guilty in connection with the case and are expected to testify against the former mayor, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune.
The indictment alleges that over the course of his time in office, Ray Nagin travelled with his family to Hawaii and Jamaica on trips paid for by local businessmen.
He accepted free travel by private jet to Chicago, Las Vegas and New York City, according to the indictment.
Two former officials in Ray Nagin’s administration have also pleaded guilty to corruption charges dating from their time at city hall.
Ray Nagin was a cable television executive before he entered public life in 2002.
He was backed strongly by white voters in his first run for mayor, styling himself as a candidate with bipartisan appeal and a progressive agenda.
Ray Nagin was thrust into the national spotlight during Hurricane Katrina and was re-elected to a second term as mayor in 2006.
Subsequently, a surge in violent crime, the slow pace of reconstruction, and the burgeoning corruption scandal at city hall undermined his popularity.
Since leaving office in 2010 Ray Nagin has stayed out of the political spotlight and has reportedly relocated to Dallas, Texas.