Sunday, May 20, 2018

Ex-New Orleans mayor guilty of taking bribes

NEW ORLEANS — Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, best remembered for his impassioned pleas for help after the levees broke during Hurricane Katrina, was convicted Wednesday of accepting bribes in exchange for helping businessmen secure millions of dollars in city work, including after the devastating storm.

The federal jury found Nagin guilty of 20 of 21 counts against him involving a string of crimes before and after the storm. He sat quietly at the defense table after the verdict was read, and his wife, Seletha, was being consoled in the front row.

Before the verdict, Ray Nagin said outside the New Orleans courtroom: "I've been at peace with this for a long time. I'm good."

Sentencing was set for June 11, Nagin's 58th birthday. Nagin left the courthouse more than an hour after the verdict was read and after U.S. District Judge Helen Berrigan ordered that his bond be modified to provide for "additional conditions of electronic monitoring and home confinement."

The Democrat, who left office in 2010 after eight years, was indicted in January 2013 on charges he accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes from businessmen who wanted work from the city or Nagin's support for various projects.

The charges carry a variety of maximum sentences ranging from three to 20 years.

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