Former NOLA Mayor Ray Nagin released from prison under COVID-19 program


NEW ORLEANS — Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin is being released from federal prison two years early under a program to reduce prison population during the coronavirus, our partners at The Times-Picayune | New Orleans Advocate confirmed Monday.

Nagin, who served as mayor from 2002 to 2010, became a national figure during the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and afterward, but had already begun a kickback scheme that began in 2004 and continued until after he left office, receiving money and help for his sons’ granite business in exchange for city business and support for private development projects.

The 63-year-old Nagin was convicted on 20 counts of corruption, bribery and fraud in 2014. He was sentenced to 10 years in a low-security prison in Texarkana, Texas, and was scheduled for release on March 16, 2023, and the Bureau of Prisons’ website shows he’s still there as Inmate Number 32751-034.

But Gordon Russell of The Times-Picayune confirmed his release Monday from Nagin’s brother-in-law Cedric Smith, who said Nagin is home with his family in Frisco, Texas.

“He’s doing fine,” Smith told the newspaper. “It’s a great day for our family. We’re really happy he’s back home.”

Federal Public Defender Claude Kelly told the paper that Nagin was a “perfect candidate” for release under a program announced by U.S. Attorney General William Barr to release older, low-risk offenders nearing the ends of their sentences because of the threat of COVID-19 spreading in the prisons.

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