Ex-NJ mayor appeals guilt in mistress's land deals

Published April 14, 2010

PHILADELPHIA – Prosecutors want to send the longtime mayor of Newark, N.J., back to prison to serve more time for steering sweetheart land deals to a mistress.

But a lawyer for 74-year-old Sharpe James asked a U.S. appeals court to reverse his conviction.

James is in a halfway house finishing up a 27-month sentence after leaving prison this month. A jury convicted him of helping mistress Tamika Riley get the redevelopment deals.

Prosecutors say Riley flipped the $46,000 land for $665,000. They say a federal judge ignored those profits in calculating James' sentence. They had sought a 20-year term.

An appeals court hearing arguments Tuesday in Philadelphia asked if either side really wants to revisit the case.

James served as Newark's mayor from 1986 to 2006.

Written by MARYCLAIRE DALE, Associated Press Writer

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