Former New Orleans Mayor to Serve 10 Years in Prison

Ray Nagin, mayor of New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina, was sentenced today to 10 years in federal prison for corruption.  He had been found guilty earlier this year of receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes and kickbacks from contractors seeking city contracts to help rebuild the city after the hurricane.

The sentencing guidelines called for 15-20 years, and federal prosecutors urged the court to impose 15, arguing that Nagin had repeatedly perjured himself on the witness stand. But Judge Ginger Berrigan, a former federal public defender, granted a huge downward variance from the sentencing guidelines.  Among her stated reasons were that Nagin was not the leader of the conspiracy, which originated with the contractors; that he didn’t enrich himself as outrageously as other convicted politicians; and that his reputation is ruined and he is unlikely to run for office again.  She indicated that Nagin’s age, 58, was also a factor.

The judge ordered Nagin to report to Oakdale minimum security prison on September 8.

A “Hall of Shame” of 16 New Orleans politicians sentenced to prison in recent years can be found here.

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