Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin reports to federal prison

Nagin arrived at the facility shortly before noon. New Orleans television stations showed images of Nagin hugging family members in a parking lot before he entered the lockup.

Jonathan Bachman/Reuters/File
Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin leaves court after being sentenced to 10 years in New Orleans, Louisiana in July. Nagin was due to report to federal prison on September 8, to begin serving a 10-year sentence for corruption during the years when the city was struggling to recover from the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina.

Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin reported to a federal prison in Texarkana, Texas, on Monday to begin serving a 10-year sentence.

Nagin arrived at the facility shortly before noon. New Orleans television stations showed images of Nagin hugging family members in a parking lot before he entered the lockup. The Bureau of Prisons operates a low-security prison there with an adjacent minimum security camp. Bureau spokesman Chris Burke said Nagin reported to the minimum security camp.

In February, Nagin was convicted on 20 counts including bribery, conspiracy and money laundering stemming from his two terms as mayor, including the chaotic days after Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005.

As the Monitor reported in February: 

The case against the former mayor was towering. In the nine-day trial, prosecutors summoned many co-conspirators to the stand who testified to the pay-to-play schemes Nagin orchestrated, plus the bribes worth hundreds of thousands of dollars that he sought and then redirected to Stone Age, a granite countertop business operated by his sons, who were not charged.

In addition to the witnesses, prosecutors presented jurors with a mountain of evidence – e-mail correspondence, business contracts, credit card and bank statements, and more – that they said proved the mayor was a willing participant in wielding power for personal profit.

Nagin was convicted on five counts of bribery, nine counts of wire fraud, one count of money laundering conspiracy, four counts of filing false tax returns, and one overarching count of conspiracy. Jurors acquitted Nagin of a single charge of bribery related to a $10,000 bribe that prosecutors said he accepted through the family business.

Re-elected in 2006 despite growing dissatisfaction with the city's recovery, he left office in 2010

A public defender in New Orleans is pursuing an appeal of Nagin's conviction.

Assistant Federal Public Defender Jordan Mark Siverd recently was appointed to the case after Nagin's previous attorney, Robert Jenkins, said the former mayor was unable to pay him. U.S. District Judge Helen Ginger Berrigan had approved the appointment of a public defender. According to a questionnaire filed with the court, Nagin had just $23.65 in the bank and numerous debts.

Nagin reported to prison the week after his former technology chief and deputy mayor, Greg Meffert, was sentenced to 2 ½ years, for his role in the corruption. Meffert had faced a possible eight years but prosecutors urged a lighter sentence and praised his cooperation in the case against Nagin and others.

Another key figure who was convicted in the case, technology vendor Mark St. Pierre, last week won a reduction of his original sentence of 17 ½ years. Because he helped prosecutors after he was convicted, St. Pierre's sentence was cut to five years.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.