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.

What do you think of Elwell? Sound off in our comments section below…

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