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Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin was indicted today on 21 charges, including bribery, money laundering, and wire fraud. The federal charges allege that he used his office for personal gain, accepting payoffs and receiving free trips and other benefits from contractors as his city struggled amid the devastation left by Hurricane Katrina.The two-term Democrat was first thrust into the national spotlight during Katrina, and gained national fame for his searing attacks on the Bush administration shortly after the disaster.
According to NPR, one businessman told a federal court in December that he gave more than $72,000 in bribes to Nagin in exchange for help winning engineering contracts. Other contractors allegedly paid bribes ranging in amount from $2,250 to $60,000.
The wire fraud charges stem from alleged transfers of $12,500 each, which were bribes or kickback payoffs from a single city construction contractor in both 2010 and 2011, according to the indictment. He is also accused of filing false tax returns from 2005 to 2008.
On Friday, Mitch Landrieu, the current Mayor of New Orleans, said that the charges against Nagin mark “a sad day for the city of New Orleans.”
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