Trial to begin for former Newark mayor

Trial begins Tuesday
February 25, 2008 12:35:26 PM PST
For 20 years, Sharpe James wielded immense power as mayor of New Jersey's largest city. But tomorrow, the former Newark mayor and state senator will be a criminal defendant in federal court as he begins the first of two federal corruption trials.

A lot is at stake for the 72-year-old James, notably his legacy and his pension -- not to mention the chance of years in prison if he's convicted.

Today's Newark is laden with projects championed by James.

Among them are the decade-old New Jersey Performing Arts Center and the Prudential Center, a hockey arena which opened in October.

But his actions will be aired in public, over two trials that are likely to last several months each.

The first trial centers on whether he arranged for the sale of nine city-owned properties at discounted rates.