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Helen Berrigan

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Helen Berrigan
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Current Court Information:
United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana
Title:   Judge
Position:   Seat #12
Station:   New Orleans, LA
Service:
Appointed by:   Bill Clinton
Active:   03/10/1994-Present
Chief:   2001-2008
Preceded by:   Patrick Carr
Personal History
Born:   1948
Hometown:   New Rochelle, NY
Undergraduate:   University of Wisconsin, B.A., 1969
Law School:   Louisiana State U. Law, J.D., 1977
Grad. School:   American U., M.A., 1971

Helen Berrigan is an Article III federal judge for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. She joined the court in 1994 after being nominated by President Bill Clinton.[1]

Early life and education

A native of New York State, Berrigan graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with her undergraduate degree in 1969, and later graduated from American University in Washington, D.C., with her master's degree in 1971. She then earned her J.D. at Louisiana State University Law School in 1977.[1]

Professional career

Berrigan worked as a staff attorney for the Louisiana Governor's Pardon, Parole, and Rehabilitation Commission from 1977 to 1978, and then transitioned into private practice as an attorney licensed in the State of Louisiana from 1978 to 1994.[1]

Judicial career

Eastern District of Louisiana

On the unanimous recommendation of Louisiana U.S. Senators John Breaux and Bennett Johnston, Berrigan was nominated by President Bill Clinton on November 18, 1993, to a seat vacated by Patrick Carr. Berrigan was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on March 10, 1994, and received commission on March 10, 1994. Berrigan served as the chief judge of the court from 2001 to 2008.[1]

Notable cases

Ex-mayor of New Orleans convicted in conspiracy trial (2014)

     United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana (U.S. v. Nagin)

On February 12, 2014, Judge Berrigan presided over the nine-day trial of C. Ray Nagin, the former mayor of New Orleans, Louisiana. Nagin was convicted by a jury on 20 corruption-related to charges, including conspiracy to commit bribery and honest services wire fraud.[2]


In the underlying case, Nagin was accused of accepting gifts from city vendors in exchange for political favors, and charged in a twenty-one-count indictment on January 18, 2013.[2] According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Louisiana, Nagin "accept[ed] numerous bribes and payoffs from consultants and contractors."[3] Evidence provided at Nagin’s trial proved that in addition to his participation in a conspiracy to launder money, he filed false tax returns from 2005 to 2008. At trial, Nagin was found guilty on twenty of the charges filed against him; he was found not guilty on only one charge of bribery.[4]


Nagin was sentenced to 10 years in prison on July 9, 2014. Nagin’s trial in Judge Berrigan’s courtroom was precedential in that he was the first New Orleans mayor to ever be tried and convicted on corruption charges.[2][5][6][7]

See also

External links

References

Federal judicial offices
Preceded by:
Patrick Carr
Eastern District of Louisiana
1994–Current
Seat #12
Succeeded by:
NA


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