Ray Nagin, the former mayor of New Orleans could be headed to prison, as he was recently found guilty of many counts of corruption. A jury has just returned guilty verdicts on 20 of the 21 counts of corruption and bribery that he faced. The trial lasted just 9 days, but Nagin, who is 57 years old, could be sentenced to as much as 20 years in a federal penitentiary.
According to the prosecution, Nagin accepted more than $500,000 in payouts, including first-class trips to Jamaica and New York City, in exchange for millions of dollars in city contracts. According to USA Today, “What makes Nagin’s case unique is that it occurred amid one of the worst catastrophes to hit a U.S. city. The floods unleashed by faulty federal levees in the wake of Hurricane Katrina on Aug. 29, 2005, led to the deaths of 1,800 people across the Gulf Coast, caused a record-breaking $135 billion in damage and devastated New Orleans.”
According to prosecutors though, Nagin’s schemes began well before Hurricane Katrina hit, and continued after the storm through his second term. Apparently, as people were rebuilding their lives and homes, Nagin continued to solicit large checks for himself and his family’s business.
Nagin is the first mayor in the city of New Orleans’s 296-year history to be convicted of corruption.