JERSEY CITY AND BEYOND -- In the past, L. Harvey Smith served as Jersey City Council president, assemblyman, and even interim mayor at one point. Then, in spring of 2009, he ran for mayor -- and got ensnared in an FBI political corruption sting operation that nabbed 43 politicians and officials statewide.
Many of those running for office last year were offered cash bribes by a government informant posing as a developer. The informant, Solomon Dwek, told officials he needed help with certain developments, and offered campaign donations of thousands of dollars.
While many of those ensnared have pleaded guilty, Smith maintains his innocence. His trial began this past Tuesday.
According to published reports, Dwek will not be called to testify. But Smith's sometime friend, former Jersey City Housing Authority commissioner Edward Cheatam, already has been called and is expected to be the star witness. Cheatam reportedly introduced Smith to Dwek. Cheatam himself has pleaded guilty to taking bribes and faces prison time, which he may be able to shorten because of his testimony.
For more on the trial, check this site or watch for stories in the Jersey City Reporter.