33412
31710

World  

Ex-New Orleans mayor found guilty

Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, best remembered for his impassioned pleas for help after Hurricane Katrina devastated the city in 2005, was convicted Wednesday of accepting bribes in exchange for helping businessmen secure millions of dollars in city work.

A federal jury found Nagin guilty of 20 of 21 counts against him. Sentencing was set for June 11. The judge ordered that his bond be modified to provide for "additional conditions of electronic monitoring and home confinement."

Before the verdict, the 57-year-old said outside the courtroom: "I've been at peace with this for a long time. I'm good." As he left after the verdict, he could be heard saying, "I maintain my innocence."

Katrina elevated Nagin to the global stage, where he gained a reputation for colorful comments. In 2006, he apologized for a speech in which he predicted New Orleans would become a "chocolate city" of black residents and asserted that "God was mad at America."

The Democrat, who left office in 2010, was indicted in January 2013 on charges he accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes and truckloads of free granite for his family business in exchange for promoting the interests of local businessman Frank Fradella.

He also was charged with accepting thousands of dollars in payoffs from another businessman, Rodney Williams, for his help in securing city contracts.

Both Fradella and Williams are awaiting sentencing for their roles in separate bribery schemes alleged in the case.

Nagin testified that key witnesses lied and prosecutors misinterpreted evidence including emails, checks and pages from his appointment calendar linking him to businessmen who said they bribed him.

The charges against Nagin included one overarching conspiracy count along with six counts of bribery, nine counts of wire fraud, one count of money laundering conspiracy and four counts of filing false tax returns. He was acquitted of one of the bribery counts.

Each charge carries a sentence from 3 to 20 years, but how long he would serve was unclear. No sentencing date was set.

Prosecutors allege the corruption spanned the time before and after Hurricane Katrina struck, plunging the city into chaos.

 

COMMENTS WELCOME

Comments are pre-moderated to ensure they meet our guidelines. Approval times will vary. Keep it civil, and stay on topic. If you see an inappropriate comment, please use the ‘flag’ feature. Comments are the opinions of the comment writer, not of Castanet. Comments remain open for one day after a story is published and are closed on weekends. Visit Castanet’s Forums to start or join a discussion about this story.



More World News

World
33286
London Webcam
Recent Trending
30785
32952
Member of the RTNDA
30468



30676
30607