Ex-New Orleans mayor convicted of taking bribes

By: The Associated Press
By: The Associated Press
FILE - In this Jan. 27, 2014, file photo, former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin arrives at the Hale Boggs Federal Building in New Orleans. Federal prosecutors on Monday, Feb. 10, summed up their case for convicting Nagin of corruption during his two terms as mayor. (AP Photo/Jonathan Bachman, File)

FILE - In this Jan. 27, 2014, file photo, former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin arrives at the Hale Boggs Federal Building in New Orleans. Federal prosecutors on Monday, Feb. 10, summed up their case for convicting Nagin of corruption during his two terms as mayor. (AP Photo/Jonathan Bachman, File)

NEW ORLEANS (AP)

A federal jury has convicted former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin on charges that he accepted bribes, free trips and other gratuities from contractors in exchange for helping them secure millions of dollars in city work while he was in office.

The jury on Wednesday convicted Nagin of 20 of 21 counts against him.

Nagin was indicted in January 2013 on charges he accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes and truckloads of free granite for his family business in exchange for promoting the interests of a local businessman.

He also was charged with accepting thousands of dollars in payoffs from another businessman for his help in securing city contracts.

Before the verdict was read, Nagin said outside the courtroom that he's "been at peace with this for a long time. I'm good."

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

A verdict was reached Wednesday afternoon in the corruption case against former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, his defense attorney said.

After a day's delay, deliberations resumed Wednesday morning. Nagin's attorney Robert Jenkins says the jury has made a decision. The timing of the announcement was uncertain as Nagin and attorneys gathered in the courtroom.

Nagin faces a 21-count indictment. Prosecutors allege he took bribes worth more than $500,000 in a string of criminal acts that began before Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005 and continued during the recovery.

The defense argued that the prosecution case was built on testimony from businessmen who entered plea deals and told prosecutors what they wanted to hear in hopes of getting light sentences.

After a day's delay, deliberations resumed Wednesday in the federal corruption case against former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin.

Jurors got the case Monday afternoon. They had deliberated about three hours when they broke for the night. An unspecified medical problem affecting one juror cancelled Tuesday's deliberations. A court record gave no details but said the juror would be back Wednesday.

The trial opened with jury selection Jan. 27 and was interrupted for two days when a blast of icy weather hit the Deep South. Jurors heard seven days of testimony. Among more than two dozen prosecution witnesses were five who said they were involved in bribing the former mayor.

The alleged graft included money, free vacation travel and truckloads of granite for Stone Age LLC, a business Nagin and his sons owned.

Nagin, a Democrat who served two terms from 2002 to 2010, was the chief defense witness. He vehemently denied taking bribes. He said he was duty-bound to OK contracts awarded to low bidders or through a process in which committees recommended contractors. He denied that the contracts were tied in any way to money, materials or favors he or his family business received.

He also denied any tie between free vacation travel he received from businessmen and actions he took as mayor.

He said he thought his former technology chief, Greg Meffert, had paid for vacation trips to Hawaii and Jamaica when, it turned out, they were financed by convicted businessman Mark St. Pierre, a city vendor at the time.


Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
powered by Disqus
WNDU - Channel 16 54516 State Road 933 South Bend, IN 46637 Front Desk: 574-284-3000 Newsroom: 574-284-3016 Email: newscenter16@wndu.com
Gray Television, Inc. - Copyright © 2002-2014 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 245237131