New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin Found Guilty of Corruption

News & Views | Gerren Keith Gaynor | 02/13/2014 | 12:45 PM EST

The once praised politician during Hurricane Katrina will face prison time for taking bribes from local businessmen

A jury has found former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin guilty of corruption for taking bribes while in office.

Nagin, who left office in 2010 after eight years, was accused of illegally accepting more than $500,000 in bribes, in addition to free travel and granite for his family business.

A federal jury found the 57-year-old politician guilty of 20 of 21 counts against him, which included one conspiracy count, 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 bribery count. Each charge carries a sentence from 3 to 20 years, however, it’s unclear how much time Ragin will serve, as it will depend on a pre-sentence investigation and sentencing guidelines.

From a national platform, Nagin is best remembered for his leadership and impassioned plea for help on behalf of New Orleanians affected by Hurricane Katrina back in 2005. Investigations revealed Ragin’s criminal activity had occurred before and after the deadly hurricane.

The businessmen who are said to have bribed Ragin cooperated with authorities in exchange for plea deals with lighter sentences. Ragin was accused of securing city contracts and promoting the special interests of the businessmen involved.

Despite the guilty verdict, Ragin was heard saying, “I maintain my innocence” outside the courthouse. During trial, the former mayor said he did not know businessmen involved in the corruption case funded his trips to Hawaii and New York.

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