Former New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin sentenced to 10 years in prison

Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, who served as mayor during Hurricane Katrina, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for a number of corruption charges including bribery, conspiracy, and fraud. Nagin is to report to a Louisiana prison in September. (Reuters)

Ray Nagin, who served as the mayor of New Orleans during the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, was sentenced Wednesday to 10 years in prison following his conviction on a host of corruption charges.

The sentencing caps off a stunning fall for Nagin, who was elected as a reform-minded mayor and became the face of the city during Katrina before eventually leaving office with low approval ratings and big ideas still unrealized. “I’m not in it for the money,” Nagin said after he was elected to the first of two terms in 2002.

After leaving office in 2010, Nagin moved to Texas, largely vanishing from the public eye until he was indicted last year on 21 federal corruption counts. Prosecutors said that Nagin “knowingly” defrauded the city, seeking bribes and kickbacks in exchange for favorable treatment.

He was convicted of 20 charges in February and found guilty of accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes, committing wire fraud and filing false tax returns.

Nagin could have been sentenced to up to 20 years in prison, but the judge said she sentenced him to 10 years in part due to his age and the fact that he’s not a danger. He has been ordered to report to prison in September.

Before he was sentenced Wednesday, Nagin spoke briefly and did not offer an apology. “I trust that God’s going to work all this out,” he said, according to the Associated Press.

Even after his conviction, Nagin proclaimed his innocence. His wife and children recently wrote letters to the judge defending him and again saying that they believe he is innocent.

This post has been updated. Last update: 12:25 p.m.

Mark Berman is a reporter on the National staff. He runs Post Nation, a destination for breaking news and developing stories from around the country.
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