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September 1, 2014

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Convicted ex-New Orleans mayor files appeal notice

NEW ORLEANS — Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin filed a formal notice of appeal Tuesday in the corruption case that resulted in a guilty verdict on 20 criminal counts and a prison sentence of 10 years.

The brief notice said the appeal will cover the verdict, the sentence and an order that Nagin forfeit over $500,000 acquired illegally, as well as court rulings prior to the verdict.

The notice was filed in U.S. District Court, and the appeal will be considered by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals

Nagin, a Democrat, was convicted in February on charges including conspiracy, bribery, money laundering, wire fraud and filing false tax returns. The charges stem from his two terms as mayor from 2002 to 2010 — including the Hurricane Katrina disaster in 2005.

Nagin is to report to a federal prison on Sept. 8.

Until his indictment in 2013, Nagin was perhaps best known for a widely heard, profanity-laced radio interview in which he angrily blasted the federal response in the days after levee breaches flooded most of the city during Katrina.

He had been elected as a reformer, but prosecutors said graft in his administration began before Katrina and flourished afterward. The bribes came in the form of money, free vacations and truckloads of free granite for his family business.

While Nagin appeals his case, prosecutors may appeal as well. They had pushed for a sentence of about 20 years. They objected when U.S. District Judge Helen Berrigan departed from federal guidelines with the 10-year sentence.

A decision on whether to appeal will be made by the U.S. Solicitor General in Washington, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

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