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Judge denies ex-mayor's motion to vacate Katrina-related conviction

GULFPORT — A federal judge has denied a motion to throw out the conviction of a former south Mississippi mayor sentenced to probation in a Hurricane Katrina fraud case.

Former Gulfport Mayor Brent Warr pleaded guilty to one count on Sept. 25, 2009, more than four years after the August 2005 storm devastated parts of the Gulf Coast.

Warr was accused of seeking a homeowner’s assistance grant for a storm-damaged house he owned but did not live in.

He petitioned the court to vacate the conviction based on the argument that FEMA never determined he was ineligible to receive the funds and that new information showed he pleaded guilty to a crime he didn’t commit.

U.S. District Judge Walter J. Gex III in Gulfport denied the motion in a ruling last week.

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