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Former New Orleans mayor guilty of corruption

Ray Nagin, who was in office during Hurricane Katrina, found guilty of accepting bribes, fraud and money laundering.

Last updated: 13 Feb 2014 00:43
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Nagin is remembered for his impassioned pleas for help after the levees broke during Hurricane Katrina in 2005 [AP]

A June 11 sentencing date has been set for former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin who has been convicted of accepting bribes, fraud and money laundering.

The 57-year-old Democrat is remembered for his impassioned pleas for help after the levees broke during Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Prosecutors say the crimes spanned both his terms as mayor from 2002-2010, including the time after Katrina devastated the city.

A jury convicted Nagin on Wednesday on 20 federal criminal counts, the AP news agency reported.

The former mayor, who left office in 2010, was indicted in January last year 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 local businessman Frank Fradella.

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

Both Fradella and Williams are awaiting sentencing for their roles in separate bribery schemes alleged in the case.

Nagin testified that key witnesses lied and prosecutors misinterpreted evidence including emails, cheques and pages from his appointment calendar linking him to businessmen who said they bribed him.

The charges against Nagin, included one overarching conspiracy count, along with six counts of bribery, nine counts of wire fraud, one count of money laundering conspiracy and four counts of filing false tax returns.

He was acquitted of one of the bribery counts.

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