Jurors find Michael Pizzi not guilty on all counts
Suspended Miami Lakes mayor claims he's been reinstated
MIAMI – Jurors found suspended Miami Lakes Mayor Michael Pizzi not guilty on all counts Thursday afternoon.
Earlier in the day jurors sent two questions to the judge.
The first asked if an entrapment defense could be applied to all seven counts against Pizzi. The answer was yes.
The second question asked for more information about what constitutes entrapment. The judge simply referred them to her jury instructions.
Jurors also wanted to know if the first count against Pizzi, a conspiracy charge, had to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Again, the answer was yes.
Pizzi was charged with seven counts of bribery and extortion. He was accused of accepting $6,500 from undercover FBI agents who were posing as crooked Chicago businessmen. They promised Pizzi a big federal grant and money for himself.
He pleaded not guilty to the charges last October.
After the verdict was read, Pizzi pumped his fists in the air as he walked out of the federal courthouse.
"This has been a really really hard road for myself and my family – my parents, my children," said Pizzi. "From the day of my arrest on Aug. 6, 2013, my life was turned upside down."
U.S. attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer released a statement after the verdict was read saying, "While we are disappointed with the outcome in this case, we respect the jury's verdict."
While it hasn't been confirmed, Pizzi claimed Thursday night that he has been reinstated as mayor of Miami Lakes
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