*Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin has pleaded not guilty to charges he accepted bribes, free trips and other gratuities in exchange for helping contractors secure millions of dollars in work for the city.
U.S. Magistrate Sally Shushan set Nagin’s bond at $100,000 during his arraignment Wednesday on charges that include bribery, wire fraud and filing false tax returns, reports CBS News.
A 21-count indictment last month accuses Nagin of accepting more than $200,000 in bribes, free loads of granite for a family business and trips to Hawaii, Jamaica and other places.
The charges against Nagin are the product of a City Hall corruption investigation that already has resulted in guilty pleas by two former city officials and two businessmen and a prison sentence for a former city vendor.
Hurricane Katrina elevated Nagin to the national stage, where he gained a reputation for colorful rhetoric in getting federal officials to help with the catastrope. During a radio interview broadcast in the storm’s early aftermath, he angrily pleaded with federal officials to “get every doggone Greyhound bus line in the country and get their asses moving to New Orleans.”
His arraignment Wednesday marked a rare public appearance for Nagin, who now lives in Frisco, Texas, and has kept a low-profile since he left office in 2010.