NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin was indicted Friday on 21 corruption charges including wire fraud, bribery and money laundering.
The charges come from a City Hall corruption investigation that already has resulted in guilty pleas by two former city officials and two businessmen.
The counts against Nagin include wire fraud, bribery, money laundering, filing false tax returns and conspiracy.
Greg Meffert, a former technology official and deputy mayor under Nagin, pleaded guilty in 2010 to charges he took bribes and kickbacks in exchange for steering city contracts to businessman Mark St. Pierre. Anthony Jones, who served as the city’s chief technology officer in Nagin’s administration, also pleaded guilty to taking payoffs.
Meffert cooperated with the government in its case against St. Pierre, who was convicted in May 2011 of charges that include conspiracy, bribery and money laundering.
Nagin, a former cable television executive, was a political novice before being elected to his first term as mayor in 2002, buoyed by strong support from white voters. He cast himself a reform-minded progressive who wasn’t bound by party affiliations, as he snubbed fellow Democrat Kathleen Blanco and endorsed Republican Bobby Jindal’s unsuccessful gubernatorial campaign in 2003.
Katrina elevated Nagin to the national stage, where he gained a reputation for colorful and sometimes cringe-inducing rhetoric.