NEW ORLEANS -- Even though former Mayor Ray Nagin got less prison time than expected, his attorney Robert Jenkins already indicated he is planning to appeal the conviction.
That process could take months, even years.
And prosecutors have their own appeal decision to make on whether to challenge Judge Ginger Berrigan's 10-year sentence, which fell well below the federal sentencing guidelines of 15 to 20 years.
"The remedy available to the government now is a possible appeal. That's not a decision that will be made by the prosecutors, the assistant U.S. attorneys who prosecuted this case, Mr. Coman, Mr. Pickens and Mr. Chester,” said Eyewitness News legal analyst Donald “Chick” Foret. “That's a decision that will be made in Washington, D.C."
Foret said that with the wide discretion given to federal judges, a stiffer penalty is unlikely.
"If they appeal, and we don't know whether they will or won't, the prosecutors are not going to get much relief on appeal,” he said.
"I think he got off relatively easy given the severity of his crimes,” said UNO political science professor Ed Chervenak.
Aside from Nagin's personal punishment, Chervenak said that his sentence is designed to send a larger message about political corruption.
"You would hope that it's a deterrent,” he said. “The thing is, corruption in politics is like doping in the Olympics. It's always going to be there. The goal is going to reduce it."