NBC 6 News sister station WDSU in New Orleans is reporting former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin has been found guilty in 20 of the 21 federal corruption counts he was charged with
Nagin's 21-count indictment accused him of accepting more than $160,000 in bribes and truckloads of free granite for his family business in exchange for promoting the interests of businessman Frank Fradella. Nagin also was charged with accepting at least $60,000 in payoffs from contractor Rodney Williams for his help in securing city contracts.
The charges in his 21-count indictment, including bribery and wire fraud, are the product of a City Hall investigation that already has resulted in several convictions or guilty pleas by former Nagin associates.
The jury was given the case Monday afternoon and deliberated for more than three hours before breaking for the day. They returned Tuesday to continue deliberations, but were canceled due to a juror with a medical issue. Wednesday, they deliberated for more than three hours and returned a verdict.
Prosecutors used pictures of emails, city documents, pages from Nagin's appointment calendar and newspaper articles to back up testimony from more than two dozen prosecution witnesses, including five who said they were involved in bribing Nagin.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Pickens told jurors in closing arguments Monday that the jury had seen evidence and heard testimony showing "how a mayor on the take operates."
Nagin's defense lawyer, Robert Jenkins, countered in his closing argument with an attack on the credibility of key witnesses who entered plea deals with the government, some of whom are awaiting sentencing.
Nagin, a Democrat, served two terms before leaving office in 2010.
Nagin was first elected in 2002 on a platform to curb corruption at City Hall.
He first came onto the national scene after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans in 2005. In impassioned, sometimes controversial remarks, he was sharply critical of the federal response to the disaster that left most of the city flooded.
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