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The Latest: Mayor defiant after extortion, bribery arrest

September 6, 2019
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Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia speaks beside his attorney Kevin Reddington outside the federal courthouse, Friday, Sept. 6, 2019, in Boston, after his appearance on bribery, extortion and fraud charges. Correia pleaded not guilty. (AP Photo/Philip Marcelo)
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Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia speaks beside his attorney Kevin Reddington outside the federal courthouse, Friday, Sept. 6, 2019, in Boston, after his appearance on bribery, extortion and fraud charges. Correia pleaded not guilty. (AP Photo/Philip Marcelo)

BOSTON (AP) — The Latest on the arrest of a Massachusetts mayor (all times local):

4:30 p.m.

A Massachusetts mayor already accused of stealing investor funds to bankroll a lavish lifestyle is defending himself from new charges that he extorted hundreds of thousands of dollars from marijuana companies.

Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia said outside Boston federal court Friday that he’s “done nothing but good” for his city and will continue to “do great things.”

His lawyer, Kevin Reddington, suggested the arrest was politically motivated. Correia is running in the mayoral primary Sept. 17.

Correia pleaded not guilty Friday to charges of bribery, extortion, wire fraud and filing false tax returns. He was ordered to post $25,000 of a $250,000 bond and his travel was restricted to Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

Federal authorities say at least four business owners paid a total of $600,000 in bribes to Correia in exchange for official letters needed to set up a marijuana business.

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3:30 p.m.

A Massachusetts mayor already accused of stealing investor funds to bankroll a lavish lifestyle has pleaded not guilty to additional charges that he extorted hundreds of thousands of dollars from marijuana companies.

Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia was arrested Friday on federal charges of bribery, extortion, wire fraud and filing false tax returns. He was released after a judge ordered him to post $25,000 of a $250,000 bond.

His travel was also restricted to Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

Federal authorities say at least four business owners paid a total of $600,000 in bribes to Correia in exchange for official letters needed to obtain a license to set up a marijuana business.

U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling says Correia used the bribe money to support a lavish lifestyle and cover mounting legal bills.

The 27-year-old Correia was first elected at age 23.

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1:50 p.m.

Federal authorities say at least four business owners paid a total of $600,000 in bribes to a Massachusetts mayor in exchange for official letters needed to obtain a license to set up a marijuana business.

Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia was arrested Friday on charges he conspired to extort the companies.

A message seeking comment was left for Correia’s attorney.

U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts Andrew Lelling told a news conference that Correia used the money he received in bribes to support a lavish lifestyle and cover mounting legal bills.

Once a rising political star in Massachusetts, Correia has remained in office despite efforts to force him out amid his legal troubles.

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11:10 a.m.

A Massachusetts mayor already accused of stealing investor funds to bankroll a lavish lifestyle has been arrested on charges he conspired to extort hundreds of thousands of dollars from marijuana companies.

The FBI’s Boston office said in a tweet Friday that Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia’s chief of staff has been arrested on similar charges.

A message seeking comment was left for Correia’s attorney.

Authorities have scheduled a news conference Friday to discuss the developments.

The 27-year-old Correia was first elected at age 23. He has pleaded not guilty to a 13-count indictment charging him with defrauding investors in an app he created and filing false tax returns.

In a strange turn of events, Correia was recalled and reelected on the same night last March. He is seeking reelection.

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