Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin left a federal courthouse a convict today. The politician, who was the public face of the city during Hurricane Katrina, was convicted on 20 of 21 criminal counts of bribery, conspiracy and wire fraud.
According to reports, prosecutors said that Nagin accepted illegal gifts from city contractors while in office, before and after the devastating storm of 2005.
“Prosecutors argued the 57-year-old Nagin was at the center of a kickback scheme in which he received checks, cash, wire transfers, personal services and free travel from businessmen seeking contracts and favorable treatment from the city,” CNN reproted. “A January 2013 indictment detailed more than $200,000 in bribes to the mayor, and his family members allegedly received a vacation in Hawaii; first-class airfare to Jamaica; private jet travel and a limousine for New York City; and cellular phone service. In exchange, businesses that coughed up for Nagin and his family won more than $5 million in city contracts, according to the January 2013 indictment.”
He faces up to 20 years in prison, but Fanning said a 14- to 17-year term was more likely.
As he left the courtroom, Nagin told reporters “I maintain my innocence.” His lead attorney Robert Jenkins said his client plans to appeal the verdict. “We did the best we could do,” Jenkins added.