Former New Orleans mayor indicted



Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, with Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff, right, and Don Powell, Chairman of the U.S. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation at a White House press conference in 2005.


Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin is set to face trial on Oct. 7 for multiple criminal counts of bribery.

Nagin, who served as New Orleans mayor from 2002 to 2010, will go to trial for indictment charges against him regarding corruption and bribery while in office.

According to Dane Ciolino, a Loyola law professor, Nagin’s indictment charges are long and detailed, ranging from 2005 to 2008. The main charges brought against Nagin are bribes that were generally from contractors looking for work with city businesses.

“Nagin accepted money from contractors in the form of bribes and kickbacks, which violates various federal laws,” Ciolino said.

The Rev. Kevin Wildes, S.J., university president, was the first chairman of Nagin’s Ethics Review Board, which was tasked with appointing New Orleans First Inspector General Robert A. Cerasoli and overseeing Cerasoli’s performance. The board was also charged with overseeing the city’s education and employees.

Wildes said the Ethics Review Board was an independent operation from the city and the mayor.

“I never got a sense that the mayor opposed the creation of the Ethics Review Board,” Wildes said.

The federal government has been working on this case since his indictment on Jan. 13, and it is unlikely that Nagin will be found not guilty, according to Ciolino.

“They’ve got a lot of documentary evidence, they’ve got a lot of witnesses who are cooperating with them and will admit to their wrongdoing, some of whom have plead guilty, and they’ve got documents to cooperate the witnesses’ testimony,” Ciolino said. “In my opinion, it’s going to be a tough ride ahead for the former mayor.”

If found guilty, Ciolino said the number of years Nagin would face in jail would depend on the amount of money involved in the illegal schemes that are charged in the indictment.

“I’d say he would be looking at a minimum of 15 to 20 years in jail,” Ciolino said.

Burke Bischoff can be reached at [email protected]