Election Section

R.I. mayor acquitted of some charges

Wednesday June 05, 2002

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – A federal judge on Tuesday acquitted Mayor Vincent Cianci Jr. on five of 17 corruption charges, but left intact more serious allegations that he headed a criminal empire run out of City Hall. 

U.S. District Judge Ernest Torres, ruling in midtrial, said prosecutors failed to prove Cianci extorted bribes from tow truck operators or urged a witness to lie to the FBI. 

Cianci still faces some key charges, including two counts of racketeering. 

The judge also acquitted former top mayoral aide Frank Corrente of taking bribes to get a man a job on the police force, and urging an official to lie to the FBI about a suspicious lease deal. 

Edward Voccola, a convicted felon and businessman, had both federal racketeering charges against him dismissed. Businessman Richard Autiello, did not have any of the seven charges against him dropped. 

The acquittals let stand other counts against the three remaining defendants, including racketeering and charges they extorted bribes for jobs, tax cuts and deals. 

Torres issued his ruling with the jury out of the courtroom. It came seven weeks into the trial.