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Former New Orleans Mayor, Ray Nagin, released from fed prison early due to pandemic

6 months 4 weeks 1 day ago Tuesday, April 28 2020 Apr 28, 2020 April 28, 2020 4:28 AM April 28, 2020 in News
Source: WWL-TV
Former New Orleans mayor, Ray Nagin Photo: WWL-TV

NEW ORLEANS - On Monday, Governor John Bel Edwards extended the statewide stay-at-home directive in Louisiana, highlighting the fact that COVID-19 continues to pose a threat to the community. 

And as increasing numbers of inmates in jails and prisons across the state fall victim to the virus, many are appealing for their release on the basis of health concerns. 

Former New Orleans mayor, Ray Nagin, is one such inmate and on Monday his appeal was granted.

According to WWL-TV, Nagin was released from a federal prison in Texarkana three years early due to the threat posed by the spread of novel coronavirus.

According to public defender Claude Kelly, who handled aspects of Nagin's case back in 2014, the 63-year-old former politician asked the federal Bureau of Prisons for a compassionate release under a new program to lower the prison population amid the coronavirus outbreak.

 Gordon Russell of The Times-Picayune confirmed Nagin's release Monday by way of the former mayor'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."

U.S. Attorney General William Barr announced a program to release older, low-risk offenders nearing the ends of their sentences because of the threat of COVID-19 spreading in the prisons.

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.

In February of 2014, he was convicted on 20 counts of corruption, bribery and fraud and given a 10-year sentence. 

He was scheduled for release after serving 85 percent of his sentence, which would have been a release date of March 16, 2023.

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