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Trial Of Former Secaucus Mayor Dennis Elwell Begins

Dennis Elwell (credit: Mel Evans/AP)

Dennis Elwell (credit: Mel Evans/AP)

NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Opening arguments started Monday in the trial of a former northern New Jersey mayor swept up in a massive 2009 federal sting in New Jersey.

Former Secaucus Mayor Dennis Elwell was charged with accepting $10,000 — through a middleman — from an undercover government witness posing as a developer.

The witness, Solomon Dwek, testified but was barred by a federal judge from using the word “bribe” in reference to his dealings with Elwell.

Prosecutors said Elwell accepted money from Dwek, and the promise of $20,000 more, in exchange for agreeing to help with a proposed hotel project.

Elwell pleaded not guilty and denies prosecutors’ allegations that he’s flouted court rules by contacting witnesses. He resigned as mayor shortly after his July 2009 arrest.

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