Miami Lakes

Public Corruption Trial

No verdict yet in corruption trial of former Miami Lakes mayor

 
 
Former Miami Lakes Mayor Michael Pizzi speaks to El Nuevo Herald reporters at a Starbucks in Miami Lakes on Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014
Former Miami Lakes Mayor Michael Pizzi speaks to El Nuevo Herald reporters at a Starbucks in Miami Lakes on Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014
C.M. GUERRERO / EL NUEVO HERALD

dsmiley@MiamiHerald.com

Suspended Miami Lakes Mayor Michael Pizzi will have to wait at least one more day to learn if a federal jury believes he is guilty of taking thousands of dollars in bribes after a full day of deliberations ended Wednesday evening without a verdict.

Pizzi, the twice-elected mayor who also served as the town attorney in Medley, was arrested in August 2013 in a high-profile sting that netted prison time for the mayor of Sweetwater.

During the sting, FBI agents posed as Chicago businessmen running a company called Sunshine Universal, which was seeking to get South Florida cities to apply for a federal grant that, on paper, would bring hundreds of thousands of dollars to the cities.

The agents, working in conjunction with lobbyists-turned-informants, say they told Pizzi that they planned to steal the money, and he’d be compensated for his support. Prosecutors say he sold his office for his own gain, and accepted thousands of dollars on four different occasions.

Pizzi, 51, declared his innocence immediately after his arrest, and his attorneys said during his trial that he was entrapped into accepting a portion of the dirty money, for legitimate reasons. He faces seven corruption-related counts.

Closing arguments concluded Tuesday afternoon. The jury will return to court Thursday morning.

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