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Jury Starts Deliberating in R.I. Corruption Trial

June 13, 2002|From Associated Press

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Two months after their selection to decide the fate of Mayor Vincent Cianci Jr., jurors began deliberations Wednesday in his federal racketeering and corruption trial.

They deliberated for more than three hours before going home.

In a 97-page indictment, Cianci, former top aide Frank Corrente and businessman Richard Autiello are accused of taking kickbacks often disguised as campaign contributions.

Prosecutors say the men took kickbacks for tax breaks, city jobs and contracts. The 12 charges include racketeering, extortion, bribery and mail fraud. The most serious charges carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

During the seven-week trial, jurors heard from 55 witnesses and more than 1,000 documents were presented.

They also heard FBI surveillance tapes showing city officials cutting deals and taking bribes. Tax officials David Ead and Joseph Pannone have since pleaded guilty to charges related to the case.

In closing arguments Tuesday, Cianci's attorney had portrayed the mayor's chief accusers as liars and thieves.

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