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Ray Nagin found guilty on 20 felony counts

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A Federal jury today found former Mayor of New Orleans Ray Nagin guilty of 20 counts of felony corruption charges. He had been charged with 21 counts but he was acquitted of one bribery charge.

The indictment stated, in part:
NAGIN, knowingly devised and intended to devise a scheme and artifice to defraud the City of New Orleans and its citizens of his honest services through a bribery and kickback scheme, whereby Mayor Nagin used his public office and his official capacity to provide favorable treatment that benefitted [sic] the business and financial interests of individuals providing him with bribery/kickback payoffs in the form of checks, cash, granite inventory, wire transfers, personal services, and free travel.

Prosecutors introduced a string of businessmen as witnesses. The value of bribes and kickbacks was alleged to be in excess of $500,000, starting from even before Hurricane Katrina. The defense was not able to successfully challenge the witnesses. Nagin’s defense on the witness stand was described as a “belly flop” because he claimed to be unable to remember who paid for trips or perks.

He faces a sentence of more than 20 years in Federal prison. There is no parole in the Federal criminal justice system.

Nagin’s lawyer said they plan to appeal.

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