Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin is officially battling his federal corruption charges. He made his first appearance before a judge, and pleaded not guilty.
The former mayor was asked how he pleaded to each count, and answered “Not Guilty” 21 separate times in his 15-minute arraignment.
The counts include taking bribes and vacations from businessmen seeking contracts and favors from the mayor. Two of the businessmen have already pleaded guilty.
Federal prosecutors say an unidentified businessman provided Nagin with free travel and received a waiver for delinquent taxes. Two of Nagin’s former top administrators have also pleaded guilty to taking kickbacks.
The government says the payoffs to Nagin amount to more than $200,000.
Nagin had no comment before or after the hearing. The magistrate set his trial for April 29.