SECAUCUS AND BEYOND -- Jury selection is due to start today in the trial of former Secaucus Mayor Dennis Elwell, who was arrested in 2009 in New Jersey's largest corruption sting, according to the Associated Press.
Elwell is among more than 40 public officials arrested in a government sting operation called "Operation Bid Rig." Elwell has pleaded not guilty and has maintained his innocence. His trial is scheduled to begin on June 20 in U.S. District Court.
Last week, former county election worker Denis Jaslow said in federal court in Newark that in 2009 he agreed to give a $10,000 bribe to then-Mayor Elwell on behalf of purported real estate developer Solomon Dwek, who was really an undercover FBI informant. Last Tuesday, Jaslow admitted he accepted a $5,000 cash bribe in exchange for helping Dwek gain access to public officials in Hudson County.
However, Elwell has pleaded not guilty.
Last month Elwell associate and Bayonne businessman Ron Manzo pleaded guilty to allegedly conspiring with Elwell and former Jersey City Housing Authority Commissioner Ed Cheatam to obtain a corrupt cash payment of $10,000 in exchange for Elwell’s alleged help with a real estate deal in Secaucus. Cheatam pleaded guilty in September 2009.
Elwell and Manzo had been scheduled to go to trial together later this month. Elwell will now stand trial alone.
The former mayor stands accused of allegedly taking a $10,000 cash bribe from Dwek.