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Gordon Russell / The New Orleans Advocate

NEWORLEANS-- Most legal observers agree that U.S. District Judge Ginger Berrigan cut former Mayor Ray Nagin a big break Wednesday when she sentenced him to 10 years in a federal penitentiary, more than five years fewer than the low end of what federal sentencing guidelines dictated for his crimes.

It wasn't that they were surprised Berrigan showed the former mayor some mercy. She's generally viewed as the most liberal jurist on the federal bench in New Orleans, and she tends to hew less closely to the sentencing guidelines than do some of her colleagues.

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