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Former NJ Lawmaker Acquitted Of Corruption

Government Witness Solomon Dwek (credit: CBS 2)

Government Witness Solomon Dwek (credit: CBS 2)

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NEWARK, N.J. (AP) – A jury has acquitted former New Jersey Assemblyman L. Harvey Smith of extortion, bribery and money laundering charges in the state’s largest corruption sting.

The jury returned the verdict Thursday following two days of deliberations.

Smith embraced his attorneys as the verdict was read in Newark federal court. Prosecutors accused him of taking $15,000 from a government informant who posed as a developer.

Smith’s attorney said his client had intended to return all the money and was duped by an elaborate government sting.

Smith’s trial was the first in which jurors didn’t hear testimony from the government’s informant, Solomon Dwek. About half of the 46 people arrested last year have pleaded guilty.

(Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)