By Kathy Finn
NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) – Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin was sentenced on Wednesday to 10 years in federal prison on corruption charges that arose in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
A jury in February found Nagin guilty of charges including bribery, wire fraud, conspiracy, money laundering and tax evasion.
Nagin stirred national controversy with his erratic behavior after Katrina breached floodwalls and inundated New Orleans in 2005, killing at least 1,500 people and leaving tens of thousands homeless.
Citing Nagin’s devotion to his family and commitment to helping New Orleans, U.S. District Judge Helen Ginger Berrigan said a shorter prison term than that recommended under federal sentencing guidelines was warranted.
Prosecutors, who sought a stiffer sentence, said the combined value of the bribes accepted by Nagin, which included personal parties, private jet rides and first-class airfare for a family shopping trip to New York, totaled more than $500,000.
(Reporting by Kathy Finn; Writing by Jonathan Kaminsky; Editing by Jim Loney)