Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin found guilty of corruption

BY Ruth Tam  February 12, 2014 at 5:16 PM EST

Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin was found guilty Wednesday of 20 corruptions charges including bribery, wire fraud and conspiring to launder money.

The guilty verdict concluded a seven-day trial of over 30 witnesses, including Nagin himself who strongly rejected accusations pinning him for exchanging city work contracts for personal gifts and favors. Nagin, who ran a granite countertop business with his two sons Jeremy and Jarin, claimed that the money his company received for city contracts were honest investments.

But witnesses relayed Nagin’s long list of gifts, including tropical vacations and complimentary cell phone service.

In his testimony, Nagin washed his hands clean of the contracting process and pointed to special selection committees who hired city contractors. But in distancing himself from the city’s contracting process, he deepened the resentment of New Orleans residents who viewed him as increasingly apathetic during his second term following Hurricane Katrina.

After the jury read their verdicts, Nagin remained seated next to his wife Seletha while the courtroom cleared. Nagin remains free on bond until sentencing, which could be up to 20 years under federal guidelines.