Nagin seeks leniency as sentencing nears

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The lawyer for former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin is asking a federal judge to go easy on Nagin when he is sentenced on 20 criminal counts on July 2.
Nagin was convicted in February on charges including bribery, fraud and money laundering stemming from his two terms as mayor from 2002 to 2010. Some of the charges carry maximum sentences of 20 years.
Friday's filing by defense attorney Robert Jenkins refers to Nagin as a first offender with an otherwise clean criminal record. It says a stiff sentence for the 58-year-old Democrat would be a "virtual life sentence" and would pose a hardship on his wife and children.
Prosecutors have filed a pre-sentence investigation report in the case that has not been made public.
Jenkins' filing doesn't say exactly how long a sentence prosecutors have recommended for Nagin. However, it notes that former Gov. Edwin Edwards received a 10-year sentence for a 2000 corruption conviction. That sentence, according to Jenkins, is "approximately one-half" of the low-end sentencing guidelines referenced in the pre-sentence report.
Jenkins did not immediately return a call Friday requesting more information on the possible sentence.
Jenkins argues in the filing that Nagin is not a danger to society. He characterizes the crimes for which Nagin was convicted as an "aberration to his otherwise outstanding life" and says numerous letters attesting to Nagin's character have been filed with the court.
Prosecutors said Nagin received more than $501,000 in money, goods and services from businessmen in exchange for lucrative work early in his tenure as mayor, crimes that began before Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005 and that continued as the city sought to rebuild in the aftermath of the catastrophic hurricane.
A federal judge has already ruled that Nagin will have to forfeit that amount as part of his sentence.

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