Convicted of fraud, bribery, former New Orleans mayor gets 10 years in prison
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
7/10/2014 (2 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
He provided a brave face for the world as his city of New Orleans was devastated by Hurricane Katrina. Former New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin would later fall hard and fast from grace - he's been sentenced to 10 years in prison on corruption charges.
Prosecutors had requested a lengthy prison sentence fro former New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin. They argued that he was found guilty of 20 of 21 counts in the indictment in a bid to enrich himself and his family.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The 58-year-old Nagin was ordered to report to federal prison September 8 and to pay a restitution of $82,000. Found guilty in February of fraud, bribery and related charges involving crimes which took place before and after Katrina devastated the city in August 2005.
Some felt Nagin's sentence was far too light. Prosecutors argued that Nagin's 10 years falls well below typical guidelines that called for 15-20 years.
"What Ray Nagin did was sell his office over and over and over again," Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Coman said. "The damage that Ray Nagin inflicted upon this community . is incalculable. We as a community need not and should not accept public corruption." A decision on whether to appeal will be made by U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli.
Judge Ginger Berrigan determined that Nagin did not have a leadership role in the criminal conspiracy, saying all defendants are "equally culpable.
"Mr. Nagin's crimes were motivated in part by a deeply misguided desire to provide for those closest to him," she said.
Berrigan before sentencing indicated she would "downwardly depart from guidelines" and that "sentencing imposed should reflect Nagin's ability to harm the public again." Nagin said he would "trust in God that this would all work out."
Nagin was found guilty of accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes in the form of money, free vacation trips and truckloads of free granite for his family business. These bribes came from businessmen who wanted work from the city or Nagin's support for various hurricane recovery projects.
Prosecutors had requested a lengthy prison sentence. They argued that he was found guilty of 20 of 21 counts in the indictment in a bid to enrich himself and his family.
The government also argued that Nagin spent years covering up his crimes and that his testimony during the two-week trial showed an unwillingness to accept responsibility for his actions.
Nagin's crimes were compared with those of other public officials who drew stiff sentences, such as former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick who was sentenced to 28 years in prison.
"Nagin's widespread and corrosive breach of the public trust - lasting through much of his tenure in office - equals even the worst of these state and local corruption cases," Coman wrote.
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