Fifteen members of the investigative team that helped convict former Mayor Ray Nagin last year were honored recently by Attorney General Loretta Lynch for their work on the case.
The group was given a Director’s Award for “superior performance by a litigative team.” Last year, a jury convicted Nagin on 20 of 21 corruption-related counts; he is serving a 10-year sentence at a federal prison in Texarkana, Texas.
Those honored include prosecutors Matthew Coman, Richard Pickens, Matthew Chester and Andre Lagarde; financial analyst Josephine Beninati; paralegal specialist Tess Coulon; legal assistant Alana Coulon; information technology specialist Michael Caracciola; legal administrative specialist Andre Laborde; victim witness specialists Donna Duplantier and Brandi Hill; IRS special agent Tim Moore; FBI special agents George Bokelberg and Peter Prozik; and Eduardo Hernandez of New Orleans’ Office of Inspector General. All but Hernandez work for the federal government.
U.S. Attorney Kenneth Polite issued a statement congratulating the group on a “well-deserved award,” adding: “Our office’s work on this and in other public corruption matters is vital to restoring and building public trust in our government.”
The 15 honorees from the New Orleans area were among 160 people honored at the recent DOJ ceremony, which took place on Thursday. Coman and Chester no longer work for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.