Federal prosecutor: Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin should receive harsh sentence


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NEW ORLEANS — Federal prosecutors say former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin has shown no remorse for his crimes and lied to investigators and U.S. District Judge Ginger Berrigan should sentence him harshly.

Nagin, convicted on 20 counts of conspiracy, bribery and fraud, had asked Berrigan to show leniency in the face of federal guidelines that recommend he be sentenced to no less than 20 years in prison.

In a court filing Tuesday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Coman does not ask for a stiffer sentence than that recommended by federal probation officers in a report to the court.

The motion documents at least 26 instances in which Coman says Nagin demonstrably lied, ranging from the former mayor's claim that he never requested that businessman Frank Fradella send him granite for the family business to his denial that he tried to lobby Home Depot for work for that business. Both of those claims were refuted by emails presented at trial. A total of 21 consecutive paragraphs in Coman's motion begin with the phase "Nagin also lied" or "Nagin further lied."

If a judge determines that a defendant lied on the witness stand, the "offense level" that controls federal sentencing guidelines is raised by several points — which can mean several years of additional prison time.

Coman also argues that Berrigan should take into consideration several other aggravating factors when imposing Nagin's punishment. The mayor "eroded the public's confidence in city government; Nagin committed numerous crimes not out of need or desperation, but out of greed," he writes.

And his timing was especially bad, Coman argues: "Notably, Nagin committed much of this criminal activity following Hurricane Katrina, when the citizens of the city of New Orleans were in desperate need of honest leadership more than ever."

Nagin's lawyer, Robert Jenkins, has asked Berrigan to go easy on Nagin in part because of his lack of a criminal history and he's not a danger to society.

Nagin's sentencing hearing is set for July 9.

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