Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin has become the first mayor in the city’s history to be convicted of corruption. A jury of six men and six women found him guilty of 20 of 21 charges of bribery, money laundering and tax evasion.
Mayor Nagin remained stoic as US District Judge Ginger Berrigan read the verdicts. Prosecutors proved he took bribes of cash, free luxury vacations and thousands of dollars in free granite for his family’s business, Stone Age.
In exchange, he paved the way for millions in city contracts. The government also showed receipts for scores of fancy private dinners paid on city credit cards.
University of New Orleans political science professor Ed Chervenak says the verdict brings a sad chapter to an end.
“The real implication is that this closes the chapter on the Nagin years. People aren’t necessarily looking back and looking fondly on the Nagin years and would like to that behind them," Chervenak said. "The city seems to be moving in a positive direction and I think that’s where most people’s focus is today. It’s on the future.”
Nagin will be under house detention until his June 11 sentencing date. His attorney says he’s prepared to appeal. Nagin could be facing 20 years in prison.