Ex-Jersey City official gets reprieve from prison

Attorney Brian Neary walks with then-Jersey City, N.J., deputy mayor Leona Beldini as she leaves federal court Thursday, July 23, 2009, in Newark, N.J.

July 30, 2010 12:51:50 PM PDT
A judge has ruled that the former deputy mayor of Jersey City does not have to report to prison next week.

Leona Beldini will remain free on bail while she appeals her conviction on corruption charges. She was scheduled to start a three-year stint at a federal prison in Fort Worth, Texas, on Monday.

Beldini's lawyer argued in a Newark federal court earlier this week that the jury was not properly instructed on some of the charges.

U.S. District Judge Jose Linares granted the stay Friday.

Beldini was among 44 people arrested last July in New Jersey's largest federal corruption sting.

She was convicted at trial of accepting $20,000 in illegal campaign donations from an undercover informant posing as a developer.