Ray Nagin found guilty on 20 of 21 counts

Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, whose tenure in office included disastrous incompetence in handling Hurricane Katrina (for which the media blamed President George W. Bush), has been found guilty on 20 of 21 counts of corruption in a federal trial. Conviction on all counts could have led to a 20 year jail sentence and $1 million in fines, but at this point it is unknown which count went not guilty and how that will affect the sentence.

Bill Chappell of NPR writes an article that does not identify Nagin's political party, which is the mainstream media convention when treating criminal Democrats:

Prosecutors also said Nagin accepted perks such as free travel and played a role in funneling money and granite to Stone Age, a company run by his sons. The counts cover a large portion of Nagin's two terms as mayor from 2002-2010, a tenure that included the Hurricane Katrina disaster of 2005. (snip)

Nagin was indicted last January, when prosecutors said he engaged in bribery, wire fraud, money laundering, conspiracy, and filing false tax returns. The case was investigated by the FBI, the IRS, and New Orleans' inspector general.

The charges leveled against Nagin came 10 years after he won the New Orleans mayoral seat as a reformer who promised to clean up how the city's government works, as NPR's Debbie Elliott reported in January. After leaving office, Nagin moved to Texas.

The Times-Picayune has some background on other players in the case:

"The trial included a roll call of personalities that have been in the news for years because of the City Hall corruption case: former city technology director Greg Meffert, who pleaded guilty to taking bribes in exchange for awarding city work and said he helped arrange payoffs and perks for Nagin; contractor Rodney Williams, who also pleaded guilty and said he and his business partners gave thinly veiled bribes to Nagin; Frank Fradella, another issuer of a guilty plea, who said he paid for travel and orchestrated bribes of cash and granite for Nagin; and Fradella associate Michael McGrath, serving time for massive mortgage fraud, who also said he used barely veiled techniques to channel bribe money to Nagin."

Somewhere, George W. Bush is laughing.

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