A federal judge denied a motion for a new trial in the vote-by-mail fraud case of Hoboken developer Frank “Pupie” Raia, who is now scheduled to be sentenced in about three-and-a-half weeks.
By Corey McDonald/Hudson County View
Raia, who was convicted in June of conspiracy to violate the federal Travel Act for using the mail for voter bribery, hoped to have the verdict overturned, arguing in an August court filing that the government had mischaracterized evidence during the prosecution.
He specifically asserted that the testimony of the three cooperating witnesses â€“ Matt Calicchio, Michael Holmes, and Freddie Frazier â€“ could not be trusted since they were trying to â€œavoid prosecution or severe sentences.â€
However, U.S. District Judge William J. Martini finally denied the motion for a new trial earlier today.
As a result, Raia faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine when he goes back to U.S. District Court on November 14th.
Dio Braxton, who was indicted the same day as Raia on Halloween of last year and eventually pleaded guilty in May, is currently scheduled to be sentenced that day as well, according to court filings in the case.
Raia was initially expected to be sentenced on October 3rd, but that was postponed as the court awaited Martini’s decision on this motion.
Legal counsel for Raia did not immediately return a message seeking comment.
First indicated on Halloween of last year, the 67-year-old spent two weeks in Newark federal court during his jury trial this summer, where some of his closest political operatives – as well as several voters – testified that he operated a citywide voter fraud scheme where residents were paid to vote in his favor via vote-by-mail ballots.
Back in 2013, Raia ran for an at-large council seat on the One Hoboken slate and was also pushing for a referendum that would have weakened the city’s rent control laws.
Both his team and the referendum lost by a wide margin.
Chief News Correspondent John Heinis contributed to this report.
Follow Corey McDonald on Twitter @cwmcdonald_