Former Mayor Ray Nagin’s Contractor Who Bribed Him Sentenced to 1 Year [UPDATE]

Ex-New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin Found Guilty On Corruption Charges

 

UPDATE on Sept. 13, 2014:

Engineering contractor Rodney Williams, the first witness to testify in Ray Nagin’s bribery trial, was sentenced on Wednesday to serve one year and a day in federal prison.   

Williams paused several times as he told U.S. District Judge Susie Morgan, his voice cracking, that he let down his children when he began a series of payouts to Nagin and his sons in exchange for lucrative city contracts.

“For this act that I committed, I’m extremely remorseful,” Williams said. “I’ve never in my 49 years made a bad decision, and I always pride myself on making good decisions.”

Federal prosecutors said Williams’ cooperation with the investigation into corruption in the Nagin administration was crucial to winning a conviction. Williams’ lawyer, Ralph Capitelli, said his client was the star witness and “leadoff hitter” in the Nagin trial, and a witness who had far less baggage than others who testified against the former New Orleans mayor.

“Rodney for that case was the first batter and he hit an inside the park home run,” Capitelli said. “After Rodney, Ray Nagin didn’t get a hit. The government held him scoreless.”

Nagin, who reported to prison on Monday to begin a 10-year sentence, was convicted on 20 of 21 counts, including one count involving a $2,500 bribe from Williams’ Three Fold Consultants. Jurors acquitted Nagin in a separate count involving a $10,000 payment arranged by Williams.

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UPDATE on July 18, 2014:

Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin filed a formal notice of appeal Tuesday in the corruption case that resulted in a guilty verdict on 20 criminal counts and a prison sentence of 10 years.

The brief notice said the appeal will cover the verdict, the sentence, and an order that Nagin forfeit over $500,000 acquired illegally, as well as court rulings prior to the verdict.

The notice was filed in U.S. District Court, and the appeal will be considered by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

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UPDATE on July 11, 2014:

Ex-New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin was sentenced Wednesday to 10 years in prison for bribery, money laundering and other corruption that spanned his two terms as mayor – including the chaotic years after Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005.

U.S. District Judge Helen Berrigan handed down the sentence Wednesday morning.

UPDATE on July 10, 2014:

This week, Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin will be sentenced in federal court on 20 criminal charges counts including bribery, money laundering and fraud.

Defense attorney Robert Jenkins will ask for leniency when Nagin – a Democrat who served from 2002-2010 – stands before U.S. District Judge Helen Berrigan on Wednesday. In court papers, Jenkins says the 20-plus years sought by prosecutors amount to a “life sentence” for the 58-year-old Nagin and would deprive his teenage daughter of her father.

Prosecutors say a stiff sentence is just, given the seriousness of the crimes and Nagin’s repeated denials. They say his actions harmed the city before – and especially after – the Hurricane Katrina devastated the city in 2005.

Nagin was a cable television executive and political newcomer when he captured the mayor’s office in 2002 with a promise to clean up corruption. He is perhaps best known for a radio interview three years later in which he made an emotional, sometimes profane plea for stepped up federal help days after levees breached during Katrina. Most of the city had flooded, hundreds died and tens of thousands were stranded in the Superdome and the city’s convention center with no power or working sewerage and little food or water.

Original post from Feb. 14, 2014:

Ray Nagin is just one of many with a political scandal on his record. It’s always a shame to hear our city and state top officials involved in a conspiracy scandal.

Read below the details of the charges against him and what they found him guilty.

Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin convicted Wednesday 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, including right after Hurricane Katrina.

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.

The federal jury found Nagin guilty of 20 of 21 counts against him. He sat quietly at the defense table after the verdict was read and his wife, Seletha, was being consoled in the front row.

Before the verdict, the 57-year-old Ray Nagin said outside the New Orleans courtroom: “I’ve been at peace with this for a long time. I’m good.”

The Democrat, who left office in 2010 after eight years, 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 local businessman Frank Fradella.

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

Each charges carries a sentence from 3 to 20 years, but how long he would serve was unclear and will depend on a pre-sentence investigation and various sentencing guidelines. No sentencing date was set.

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