FREEHOLD - Former Middlesex County Sheriff Joe Spicuzzo has pleaded not guilty to bribery and official misconduct charges.

The 65-year-old Spicuzzo is accused of selling jobs and promotions at the sheriff's office for up to $25,000 each.

He made his first court appearance yesterday in Freehold following his arrest last week. He and his attorney declined to comment after the hearing, which lasted only a few minutes. He remains free on his own recognizance.

Attorney General Paula Dow said Spicuzzo demanded bribes from at least three people who were either up for a promotion or applying for a position as an investigator in his office.

The case was moved to Monmouth County to avoid conflicts of interest.

AP wire services contribute to this report. Court hearing set for former Middlesex county sheriffFormer Middlesex County sheriff arrested for alleged bribery