Former Hoboken Assemblyman Carmelo Garcia received his fourth continuance this year in a case about a large-scale Newark bribery scheme.
“The discovery in this matter involves numerous documents and materials that defense counsel requires adequate time to review,” U.S. District Judge Madeline Cox Arleo wrote on Monday.
“The grant of a continuance order will ensure that … defense counsel has sufficient time to review and inspect discovery and further investigate the charges in this matter. The failure to grant a continuance would deny counsel for the defendant the reasonable time necessary to effectively prepare for trial, taking into account the exercise of due diligence.”
The continuance, his fourth this year, was granted through December 1st of this year. The case has been delayed over a dozen times thus far, at least in part due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Garcia, also the former director of the Newark Department of Economic and Housing Development, was indicted in October for allegedly soliciting corrupt payments in exchange for helping businessmen acquire and redevelop properties.
He was charged with one count of conspiracy to defraud the city of Newark and the NCEDC of Garcia’s honest services facilitated by the use of interstate wire transmissions; 17 counts of honest services wire fraud; and four counts of use of interstate facilities to promote and facilitate bribery in violation of the Travel Act.
Two Newark businessmen face the same charges, while Garcia is also accused of three counts of receiving bribes in connection with the business of a federally funded local government and organization.
He pleaded not guilty about a month later and is being represented by Robert G. Stahl, of Stahl Criminal Defense Lawyers with offices in Westfield and New York City.
Sudhan Thomas, a former Jersey City Board of Education president, also received another continuance in this week in his case where he is accused of embezzling $45,000 from the Jersey City Employment and Training Program while serving as the acting executive director.