the republic logo

5th US Circuit hears appeal of ex-New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, serving 10-year sentence


NEW ORLEANS — Lawyers for former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin asked a federal appeals court Monday to reverse his 2014 corruption convictions, arguing that a judge gave erroneous instructions to the jury that convicted him.

Federal prosecutors scoffed at the argument.

"We have a case chock full of bribes, official acts and concealment," Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Pickens told a three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

There was no indication when the panel would rule. Nagin, who has adamantly insisted that he did nothing wrong, is serving a 10-year sentence and did not attend the arguments. Several of his family members were present.

Nagin, a Democrat who served from 2002 to 2010, was convicted on charges of wire fraud, bribery, money laundering and filing false tax returns. Prosecutors say graft in his administration began before Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005 and flourished afterward. Bribes included money, free vacations and truckloads of free granite for his family business.

Jordan Siverd, a public defender representing the now-financially destitute ex-mayor, focused most of his argument on the contention that U.S. District Judge Ginger Berrigan erred in instructions to the jury regarding federal fraud counts. Jurors should not have been told they should convict Nagin for taking actions he would have legally taken even if he hadn't been bribed to do so.

"Claiming later that you would have performed the same act anyway has never been an excuse," Pickens countered in his rebuttal.

Siverd also argued against forfeiture orders requiring Nagin to turn over some $500,000 that prosecutors said he gained illegally. Prosecutors say the forfeiture order was proper.

Think your friends should see this? Share it with them!

Story copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Feedback, Corrections and Other Requests: AP welcomes feedback and comments from readers. Send an email to and it will be forwarded to the appropriate editor or reporter.

We also have more stories about:
(click the phrases to see a list)


Follow The Republic:

All content copyright ©2015 The Republic, a division of Home News Enterprises unless otherwise noted.
All rights reserved. Privacy policy.