First, some theme music…
And now, the news…
A federal jury has convicted former Mayor Ray Nagin of corruption, finding that the mayor traded his political influence for bribes from city contractors.
Nagin was found guilty of 20 counts, including the overarching conspiracy count that accused him of depriving New Orleanians of his “honest services,” five counts of accepting bribes, nine counts of wire fraud, one count of money laundering and four counts of filing false tax returns. He was acquitted of just one charge: an alleged $10,000 bribe that prosecutors claimed Nagin accepted through his sons in the form of a payoff to the family granite business.
The jury of six men and six women returned its verdict at almost 1 p.m. Wednesday, after about six hours of deliberation and a trial that lasted nine days.
It’s ironic that Nagin’s political career turned out this way, since he was initially elected to clean up some of the toxic corruption of the Morial years in New Orleans, and the first few days of his mayoralty were hailed as being evidence of doing just that.
But after Katrina, when it was pretty obvious Nagin had cracked under the weight of the city’s destruction and his administration’s lack of preparation for it, all that went out the window. He played the race card like there was no tomorrow and managed to squeak past Mitch Landrieu in the 2006 election, and set about raking in whatever he could get.
Which leads us to today.
Exit question: any timetable on indictments for Marc Morial and some of his friends on similar grounds? Or did all of that go away when Jim Letten was reappointed by President Obama back in 2010?