Judge denies new vote-by-mail fraud trial for Hoboken’s Raia, sentencing set for Nov.

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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.

Frank Raia (left) sitting with Freddie Frazier at the January 20th, 2016 Hoboken City Council meeting.

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 – Matt Calicchio, Michael Holmes, and Freddie Frazier – could not be trusted since they were trying to “avoid prosecution or severe sentences.”

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_

32 COMMENTS

  1. As a 35-year resident of Hoboken, I’m still amazed that people have actually been nailed for VBM fraud. It seemed like the political goons in town were untouchable because the fraud was so rampant and blatant, everyone knew about it but nothing ever happened. And for Raia, of all people, to go down is still a shock. I don’t have confidence that this will change the pattern of VBM fraud moving forward, but one can hope.

  2. The proof is in the payouts
    Bhalla’s chief puppet masters has to pay out almost 2 mil to Carmelo Garcia and Angel Alicea
    Fool us once …. fool us twice … no mad!

  3. owes money all over the place. But hes got a lucrative LIME juicing career @ $4 a pop. He might pay off his legal bills in a thousand years.

  4. What does that have to do with…well…anything at all?

    I’m not defending him, I just don’t understand why there is a constant attempt to change the subject to MSV. MSV is not relevant to this story.

    • i don’t see you saying anything about msv dragging bloggers, non-politicians and anyone else he doesn’t like into every article. stuff it, windbag.

        • Um, open yr eyes. The reason everyone (except you) mocks MSV is laid out in the comment at the beginning here from “VBM payments system down”, look it up. he jumps into the conversation to claim his expertise and take credit, what a blowhard..

          Feel silly now?

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