- Associated Press - Monday, June 23, 2014

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - A federal judge rejected former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin’s request for a hearing devoted solely to arguments about his sentence for corruption.

U.S. District Judge Helen Berrigan denied the request in a brief order Monday, saying Nagin’s attorney can argue for a lighter punishment than the one recommended by prosecutors on July 9, at the hearing already set for Nagin’s sentencing.

Nagin was convicted in February on charges including bribery, fraud and money laundering stemming from his two terms as mayor. Some of the charges carry possible 20-year prison terms.

Prosecutors’ sentencing recommendations have not been made public. However, Nagin attorney Robert Jenkins’ motion for a lighter sentence indicated they have recommended a sentence of at least 20 years.

Nagin, a Democrat, served two terms from 2001-2010.

Prosecutors said Nagin received more than $501,000 in money, goods and services from businessmen in exchange for lucrative work during his tenure as mayor, crimes that began before Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005 and continued as the city sought to rebuild in the aftermath of the catastrophic hurricane.

Jenkins has argued in court filings that Nagin is not a danger to society. He characterized the crimes for which Nagin was convicted as an “aberration to his otherwise outstanding life.” He also noted numerous letters attesting to Nagin’s character have been filed with the court.

More than two dozen of those letters were made public last week. They include one from the Rev. Fred Luter, former president of the Southern Baptist Convention, as well as other clergy and friends and family of the former mayor.

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