WASHINGTON — The disgraced former mayor of New Orleans, C. Ray Nagin, is on trial for federal corruption charges and claimed he was a defender of the city while serving as mayor.
Reuters reported that Nagin testified that he kept his personal business separate from city affairs, while facing charges of accepting bribes in exchange for city contracts.
He claimed that his city office had to simplify and streamline selection as New Orleans recovered from the devastating Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Nagin said:
“Eighty percent of the city was damaged, three-fourths of our citizens were dispersed … we were fighting with state and the federal government to fix our city” and that the city typically awarded about $25 million in capital improvement projects. Post-Katrina, that number soared to billions of dollars worth of projects.
Nagin said, “We had to find people who could help us get that done” and felt that the process was always transparent. He faces 21 counts of bribery, wire fraud, conspiracy, money laundering and filing false tax returns. Federal prosecutors say that he received cash and gifts that could be valued at around or above $500,000 during his service as mayor and after his time was done.
Nagin was a Democratic mayor of a major urban city, like Detroit’s Kwame Kilpatrick, yet received little national attention by the liberal mainstream media.