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Former Newark mayor convicted

By Owen Weldon     Apr 16, 2008 in Crime
Sharpe James, the former mayor of Newark, N.J., and his ex-mistress has been convicted by a U.S. federal jury for corruption that stemmed from the cut-rate sale of city land.
James faced five charges and was convicted on all of them which included fraud and conspiracy and his former mistress, Tamika Riley, was also convicted of those charges and eight others as well which included evading taxes and cheating to obtain subsidized housing assistance for herself.
James is accused of abusing his office by arranging for the sale of a nine-city-owned properties at a low price of under $47,000 and he sold them to his former mistress who than sold the property for more than $600,000 without starting rehabilitation work on most of them, according to prosecutors.
Lawyers who are defending James say that there was no evidence that that mayor assisted Riley or even knew about her transactions and that the mayor acted within his duties because the mayor's interest was in redeveloping the struggling city. Lawyers also made a good point and said that the mayor did not give the final approval over the land prices and the Newark City Council was the one who give final approval. Two witnesses who are members of the council also testified in James's defense and said that James did not try to influence their decisions.
The charges that the former mayor was convicted of carry over 6 years in prison for each defendant and the jury took over 30 hours to come up with a verdict.
The former mayor left the courtroom without speaking to anyone but he did give his wife a kiss on her cheek before they left together.
His troubles do not end there because once this trial has ended he will be facing charges that he used city-issued credit cards to pay for more than $50,000 worth of personal expenses which include trips to Martha's Vineyard, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Rio de Janeiro, with more than 6 women other than his wife.
The former mayor is in a whole lot of hot water and I do not see a good ending for him at all. I am surprised that he was still found guilty after two witnesses from the council came forward.
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