Court battle between Fall River mayor, city council postponed

SE Mass

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (WPRI) – The legal fight between the Fall River City Council and embattled Mayor Jasiel Correia has been postponed, according to Bristol County Superior Court officials.

A preliminary injunction that would require Mayor Correia to relinquish his mayoral duties was expected to be heard in Bristol County Superior Court in New Bedford, Tuesday afternoon. Instead, officials say the hearing is scheduled to take place sometime Thursday.

Correia was arrested outside his home last month and accused of trying to extort hundreds of thousands of dollars from marijuana vendors, according to federal prosecutors.

In September, the city council voted 8-1 to temporarily remove Correia from office after he was arrested for the second time in less than a year.

City Council President Cliff Ponte urged Correia to step down from office and announced that he would be the acting mayor in his place.

However, Correia, who has pleaded not guilty to all charges against him, refuses to step down and claimed the city council vote was illegal.

“We wouldn’t be seeking outside legal if the mayor would just step aside and resign from his duties as mayor,” Ponte said last month.

Correia’s lawyer Peter Mello issued a statement in regards to the upcoming hearing:

“While he is disappointed with the city council’s politically motivated conduct in this matter, undertaking its unlawful vote and commencing this misguided and wasteful lawsuit at great taxpayer expense, he looks forward to pursuing an active defense.”

Despite the city council’s repeated attempts to remove the mayor from office, Correia advanced in the Fall River preliminary election with 21% of the vote. He will face school committee member Paul Coogan, who received 62% of the vote – in the November general election.

Correia was first arrested on federal fraud charges in October 2018 in connection to his now-defunct startup mobile app company called SnoOwl.

He also pleaded not guilty to those charges.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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