Former New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin has made history by becoming the first mayor in New Orleans’ nearly 300-year history to be tried and convicted for a crime committed while in office.
Nagin, a New Orleans businessman and Democrat who famously vowed to root out corruption once elected, was found guilty on 20 of 21 counts in a federal court. He was convicted on one count of conspiracy, five counts of bribery, nine counts of wire fraud, one count of money laundering and four counts of filing a false tax return.
The 57-year-old ex-mayor was found not guilty on one count of bribery, stemming from an alleged bribe involving businessman Rodney Williams.
“I maintain my innocence,” a stoic-faced Ray Nagin said as he left the federal courthouse.
“We did our best,” lead defense attorney Robert Jenkins told reporters. “I’m surprised. I really thought the jury would not find him guilty of any of these counts,” Jenkins said. “We will move on to the appeal process.”
A sentence hearing has been set for June 11.
Under federal sentencing guidelines, Nagin could face 20 years behind bars, and possibly more time plus fines. The former mayor remains free on bond and was not taken into custody.
At times during the trial, a defiant Nagin engaged in heated exchanges with federal prosecutors and denied taking bribes although he did acknowledge that he did whatever he could to support his sons and the family business.
Source: Forward Times Online | TRICE EDNEY NEWS WIRE FROM THE LOUISIANA WEEKLY