FALL RIVER, Mass. (CBS/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.
“This type of individual should not be involved, in any way shape or form, holding elective office,” Fall River City Councilor Brad Kilby said.
In response to Ponte’s proposal, Correia recommended that the council review all official mayoral actions.
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. “They are not true. Not a single allegation is true so I’m going to fight it, I’m not going to coward, I’m not going to turn my back on the city,” Correia said.
It was the second time Correia had been federally charged.
Some still support Correia, though. “He’s saving the taxpayers money. The city is moving forward,” said Fatima Rego.
Correia also said the vote was not legally binding and he plans to continue coming to work.
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