Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani surrendered to authorities this week in Fulton County, Georgia, on charges of racketeering in connection with former President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election.
His mugshot posed a stark contrast to images from Giuliani’s time in the Big Apple’s top office when he was hailed as “America’s Mayor” for his leadership after the 9/11 attacks. And there was a unique irony to the case, with Giuliani facing RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) charges similar to those he used to prosecute the mob as a U.S. attorney earlier in his career.
But American mayors have a sordid history as an institution, with a number of high-profile charges and convictions over the years. And just like Giuliani, who has yet to go to trial, their legal travails frequently make national news.
Here are six current and former U.S. mayors who were convicted of crimes.
Boston Mayor James Michael Curley (D)
Charges: Mail fraud
Curley, the City on the Hill’s second Irish-American mayor, was beloved by voters, who elected him four times. Curley also served a single term as governor of Massachusetts and two terms, three decades apart, in the House of Representatives.
It was not until late in his 40-year political career that Curley ended up in serious legal trouble, and he was indicted on mail fraud charges in 1945 — but he still won a fourth term as mayor while under indictment. He was convicted and sentenced to 6-18 months in prison, but President Harry S. Truman commuted his sentence five months in.
Where is he now? Curley finished his term after leaving prison, but in 1949 lost the Democratic primary to John Hynes, who served as acting mayor while he was in prison. He retired from politics and died in 1958.
Providence, R.I., Mayor Buddy Cianci (R)
Charges: Kidnapping, racketeering conspiracy
Cianci started his political career similarly to Giuliani, as a crusading, media-savvy federal prosecutor running against the corruption of a big-city Democratic machine. He ended it with the ignominious distinction of being the only person on this list convicted of two different crimes in two different terms.
In 1984, Cianci allegedly kidnapped a contractor he believed to be having an affair with his wife and beat him with a piece of firewood, eventually pleading no contest and resigning.
However, he remained such a popular local figure that he won election again in 1991, serving as mayor for another 11 years. In 2002, he was one of several city officials indicted in a federal corruption investigation known as “Operation Plunderdome” and was sentenced to five years in prison and forced to resign (again).
Where is he now? Cianci was released from prison in 2007 and tried to make another political comeback, running for mayor in 2014 after his probation was up. He lost the race and died two years later, but he remains the longest-serving mayor in Providence history. His story was told in the first season of the hit podcast “Crimetown.”
Camden, N.J., Mayor Angelo Errichetti (D)
Charges: Bribery and conspiracy
Errichetti was a key figure in the “Abscam” FBI operation in the late 1970s, in which both local politicians and members of Congress accepted bribes from undercover agents disguised as investors from the Middle East.
Errichetti arranged the meetings in exchange for a cut of the bribes. The FBI targeted a total of 31 people, and eventually, 12 of them, including Errichetti and seven members of Congress, were convicted of bribery and conspiracy. Errichetti served 32 months of a six-year sentence.
Where is he now? Errichetti died in 2013 at 84 years old. Jeremy Renner played a fictionalized version of him, renamed Carmine Polito, in the film “American Hustle” later that same year.
Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick (D)
Charges: Perjury, obstruction of justice, mail fraud, wire fraud, racketeering
Kilpatrick was first elected in 2001, the youngest mayor in Detroit history at 31 years old. Two years later, the former deputy chief of the Detroit Police Department and a former Kilpatrick bodyguard sued, alleging that they had been fired for investigating an affair between Kilpatrick and chief of staff Christine Beatty. Upon the discovery of text messages confirming the affair, Kilpatrick was convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice and resigned shortly thereafter.
In 2010, Kilpatrick was indicted again as part of a federal investigation into bribery and fraud in city contracts. He was convicted on 24 counts and sentenced to 28 years in prison.
Where is he now? Then-President Trump commuted Kilpatrick’s sentence in January 2021. His story was told in the second season of “Crimetown.”
Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh (D)
Charges: Tax evasion, conspiracy
Pugh became the subject of a federal investigation in 2019 over sales of her own “Healthy Holly” children’s books to the University of Maryland Medical Center, raising suspicions of self-dealing. Pugh at first said those had been her only book sales, but she was later discovered to have sold nearly $200,000 worth of books to institutions that do business with the city. Pugh resigned that May and was indicted on fraud, tax evasion and conspiracy charges that November, pleading guilty to conspiracy and tax evasion.
Where is she now? Pugh was sentenced to three years in prison in 2020. She was released in April 2022.
Bridgeport, Conn., Mayor Joe Ganim (D)
Charges: Racketeering, extortion, bribery, mail fraud
Ganim was first elected mayor of Connecticut’s largest city in 1991, defeating incumbent Republican Mary Moran during a period where Bridgeport had become shorthand for the decline of American cities. He was re-elected four times but in 2003 was convicted on 16 counts in connection with an alleged scheme to extort hundreds of thousands from city contractors, with the presiding judge calling the alleged crimes “the stuff cynicism is made of.”
Where is he now?: Ganim was released from prison in 2010 and ran for mayor of Bridgeport again in 2015. He won and is the city’s current mayor.