Ray Nagin, New Orleans Mayor During Hurricane Katrina, Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison

Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin has been sentenced to 10 years in prison. The 58-year-old businessman-turned-politician, who garnered national attention after Hurricane Katrina, has also been ordered to pay $82,000 in restitution. On Wednesday, July 9, Nagin was sentenced in a federal court by Judge Ginger Berrigan of United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana.

Back in January of 2013, Nagin was indicted on 21 counts of corruption including wire fraud, bribery and money laundering. Nagin was accused of taking bribes from city contractors before and after Hurricane Katrina. He reportedly pocketed more than an estimated $500,000 in illegal payouts from various businessmen in exchange for public mayoral support and city contracts worth millions of dollars.

According to court documentation, the bribes and kickbacks Nagin received came in the form of money, free vacations, and tickets to professional sporting events. He also received truckloads of free granite for his now-defunct family business, Stone Age LLC. According to USA Today, prosecutors insisted that Nagin intentionally participated in the “years-long conspiracy” to further advance his family. On February 12, Nagin was found guilty on 20 of the 21 charges.

Prosecutors initially suggested a 20-year sentence, expressing that Nagin defiantly showed absolutely no remorse for his actions. He also faced the possibility of asset forfeiture, staggering fines, and supervision upon his release from prison. However, Nagin’s attorney, Robert Jenkins, argued the fact that he is a first-time offender, but the prosecution felt otherwise.

Lead prosecutor, Matt Coman, released a brief statement following Nagin’s sentencing.

“What Ray Nagin did was sell his office. We as a community should not accept public corruption. We will not tolerate public corruption wherever it exists,” Coman said. “Nagin’s widespread and corrosive breach of the public trust – lasting through much of his tenure in office – equals even the worst of these state and local corruption cases.”

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Michael Anderson, Special Agent in Charge of the New Orleans Field Division of the FBI, also released a statement in regards to Nagin’s sentencing.

“Given the nature and extent of former Mayor Nagin’s criminal conduct and betrayal of public trust over the course of several years, hopefully this result will bring at least some level of resolution to the City and its residents,” Anderson said.

Coman also added that Nagin’s sentence was “stiff.” However, the prosecutor’s office could appeal in an effort to suggest more time be served. Ray Nagin has until noon on September 8, 2014 to turn himself in.

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