Few of Nagin’s former constituents will shed a tear for the man who led the city through one of its darkest periods. A convicted felon, the two-term mayor is serving his 10-year sentence in Texas as he makes his way to his new home.
The corruption that got him thrown in prison began well before Katrina wiped out three-fourths of the city’s homes and killed hundreds of people, but the storm catapulted Nagin into the national spotlight. Then he embarked on a years-long kickback scheme, taking money and free granite for his sons’ business in exchange for city work and support of private development projects.
Prosecutors argued that Nagin’s crimes warranted a prison sentence much longer than federal guidelines called for, but U.S. District Court Judge Ginger Berrigan, who was appointed by President Bill Clinton, deferred to the judge’s recommendation to sentence him to 10 years in prison. Nagin will be eligible for early release from prison in 2023 if he completes 85 percent of his term.
During his trial, several co-conspirators testified about their dealings with Nagin, helping him to secure convictions on 20 counts of bribery and wire fraud. But while the judge did not impose an upward departure for any of those co-conspirators, she did give them more lenient treatment than Nagin received. Prosecutors argue that the judge’s deference to the co-conspirators was improper. The judge will not decide on that argument until a hearing scheduled for Oct. 19 is rescheduled.