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Former New Orleans Mayor Nagin pleads not guilty in kickbacks case

NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) - Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin pleaded not guilty on Wednesday in federal court to charges that he accepted kickbacks in exchange for city contracts.

Nagin, the brash defender of the city inundated by Hurricane Katrina, entered the plea before U.S. Magistrate Judge Sally Shushan. It was Nagin's first appearance in court since a federal grand jury handed down a 21-count public corruption indictment in January.

The charges include bribery, wire fraud, filing false tax returns, conspiracy and money laundering. He pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

(Reporting by Stephanie Grace; Editing by Cynthia Johnston)

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