Former Mayor of New Orleans Ray Nagin, is set to go on trial to face corruption charges that stemmed from his eight-year tenure as mayor. Nagin was in office during Hurricane Katrina and had the tough task of leading the city of New Orleans back from that devastation. Even before the allegations of corruption blew up at the end of Nagin’s tour in office, he was receiving heavy criticism for his efforts or lack there of to help New Orleans recover from the havoc that Hurricane Katrina left behind.
The ex-mayor was indicted last year by a grand jury for receiving bribes of more than $200,000 from contractors looking to secure high-income city contracts, as well as accepting free trips. Nagin also faces 21-counts of bribery and wire fraud charges, each of those charges include 10 year and 20 year maximum prison sentence.
Several of Nagin’s associates have already pleaded guilty and will provide key prosecution witnesses during the trial. Jury selection for the trial is scheduled to start today. Clancy Dubos, co-owner and political columnist at the Gambit weekly newspaper, said:
I think his trial represents the final chapter – at least in the political sense – in the debacle after Katrina,” he said. “Everybody just wants to put it behind us. I think we want to forget about it, but I don’t think we’re ready to forgive.”
Many more residents of New Orleans blame the ex-mayor for the cities slow recovery after the hurricane. Nagin’s recovery chief, Ed Blakely, had vowed that New Orleans residents would see “cranes in the sky,” but that kind of rebuilding progress never materialized.
Since leaving office the former mayor has lived quietly in Dallas, the Democrat vowed when he left office to never be involved in politics again. For the most part Nagin has kept that promise, only speaking at a few events about his experiences during Hurricane Katrina. Now he’s being thrust back into the spotlight and will have to answer for the allegations of corruption.
“Ex-Mayor of New Orleans Set To Go On Trial For Corruption Charges”