BOSTON, Mass. (WPRI) – In a significant development in the federal corruption case against previous Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia, his former chief of staff has asked for a hearing to change her plea to guilty.
Genoveva Andrade — who is facing six criminal counts in the case — requested what is called a Rule 11 hearing on Monday, which is a hearing for a defendant to change their plea. The motion was filed jointly with prosecutors. Andrade had previously pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The development comes as a trial against Andrade and her former boss looms in the new year.
Andrade was arrested in Sept. 2019 on charges of extortion, conspiracy, bribery and making false statements in a sweeping public corruption probe into Fall River City Hall.
Correia is accused of shaking down prospective marijuana vendors for hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of bribes in order to open up shop in his city.
The alleged scheme happened while Correia was already under indictment for allegedly defrauding investors in his now-defunct app SnoOwl. The indictments were combined into one trial that includes two dozen counts including extortion, bribery, wire fraud, conspiracy and filing false tax returns.
Andrade is accused of conspiring with Correia in the marijuana vendor extortion, but is not accused in the SnoOwl scheme. She previously pleaded not guilty to charges of aiding and abetting extortion, conspiracy, bribery and making false statements.
The trial has been repeatedly pushed back because of the pandemic, and is now slated for February. Andrade had unsuccessfully attempted to be tried separately from Correia.
It remains to be seen what the change of plea by Andrade means for Correia’s case, or if she is going to testify against her former boss. A pretrial hearing in the case is scheduled for Thursday.
A call to Correia’s attorney Kevin Reddington, as well as U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling’s office has not yet been returned.