Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin has been indicted on 21 federal corruption charges including wire fraud, bribery and money laundering.
The charges are the outgrowth of a City Hall corruption investigation that already has resulted in guilty pleas by two former city officials and two businessmen.
The counts include wire fraud, bribery, money laundering, filing false tax returns and conspiracy.
Nagin, a former cable television executive, was a political novice before being elected to his first term as mayor in 2002, buoyed by strong support from white voters.
Hurricane Katrina in 2005 elevated Nagin to the national stage, where he gained a reputation for colorful and sometimes cringe-inducing rhetoric.
In January 2006, he apologized for a Martin Luther King Day speech in which he predicted New Orleans would be a “chocolate city” and asserted that “God was mad at America.”
Strong support from black voters helped Nagin win re-election in 2006 despite widespread criticism of his post-Katrina leadership. But the glacial pace of rebuilding, a surge in violent crime and the budding City Hall corruption investigation chipped away at Nagin’s popularity during his second term.
Nagin could not seek a third consecutive term because of term limits. Mitch Landrieu, who ran against Nagin in 2006, succeeded him in 2010.