Ex-Newark mayor to be tried first on land charges

January 15, 2008 1:21:45 PM PST
Newark's former mayor faces trial next month on land fraud charges in his federal corruption case. A federal judge Tuesday ruled on the order of trials for 71-year-old Sharpe James. His first trial is scheduled to begin Feb. 26.

He will be tried later on charges that he used city-issued credit cards to pay for $58,000 worth of personal trips and expenses while he was mayor.

James faces trial alone on improper credit card charges, and will be tried on land fraud charges with Tamika Riley. Prosecutors allege the 38-year-old businesswoman was his companion.

James and Riley were indicted in July. They have pleaded not guilty to all charges and are free on bail.