Embattled Massachusetts mayor temporarily relieved of duties pending outcome of trial

FALL RIVER, Mass. (AP) — A Massachusetts mayor charged with extorting hundreds of thousands of dollars from marijuana companies has been temporarily ousted from office.

The Fall River City Council voted 8-to-1 Tuesday night in favor of appointing Council President Cliff Ponte to temporarily replace Jasiel Correia as acting mayor.

Ponte had asked the 27-year-old to step down on Monday.

“Once his personal issued are addressed and they’re no longer an issue anymore, then the mayor may be able to resume his duties,” Ponte said after the meeting.

In response to Ponte’s proposal, Correia recommended that the council review all official mayoral actions.

Before the vote, Correia was outside city hall with his supporters.

“People get accused of things that they don’t do and it takes a long time to prove that you are innocent, but I will be proven innocent,” he said.

Correia, who became the old mill city’s youngest mayor when he was elected in 2015 at age 23, showed up for work Monday three days after pleading not guilty to federal charges including bribery, extortion and wire fraud.

He denied the new charges outside of court.

It was the second time Correia had been federally charged.

 

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