SECAUCUS AND BEYOND -- Former Secaucus Mayor Dennis Elwell seeks an acquittal or new trial to overturn the bribery conviction handed down to him by federal court on July 6. In what was a split-verdict, a federal jury acquitted Elwell of conspiracy to commit extortion and attempted extortion, but convicted him on bribery. Elwell’s lawyers filed papers in federal court Friday, August 5, citing the weakness of the split-verdict and the statements made by juror Luis Alba to the Star Ledger that he had reasonable doubt of Elwell's guilt and that he believed the $10,000 paid to the former mayor was a campaign contribution.
According to the Star-Ledger, Garrigan told federal judge Jose L. Linares, "From what he (Alba) said, it supports our argument that there was insufficient evidence to there being a quid pro quo," which was required, Garrigan said, for Elwell to have committed bribery.
Garrigan added, "There has to be an intent by our client to be influenced, that the money was accepted in exchange for his influence, something for something."
Elwell, 66, was arrested on July 23, 2009 along with dozens of other political and religious leaders who were caught by the FBI in a sting operation. In the sting, an FBI informant, Solomon Dwek, met with various politicians running for office and offered cash contributions in exchange for future help with supposed real estate development projects.
Sentencing will be Nov. 15, 2011. Elwell faces up to 10 years in jail.