Testimony begins in NJ mayor's bribery trial

(AP) - A witness in the federal bribery trial of a New Jersey mayor testifies she lavished gifts on numerous township officials to maintain lucrative

TRENTON - (AP) - A witness in the federal bribery trial of a New Jersey mayor testifies she lavished gifts on numerous township officials to maintain lucrative contracts.

Former insurance broker Marliese Ljuba told jurors Tuesday in the trial of Hamilton Mayor John Bencivengo that the inducements included illegal cash contributions to school board members, shopping trips and trips to Disneyland.

Bencivengo is charged with extortion and money laundering. The U.S. Attorney's Office claims he took more than $12,000 from Ljuba in exchange for using his influence.

The Times of Trenton reports Ljuba testified she wanted the mayor to help her remove a school board member who wanted to put the insurance broker contract out to bid.

In opening statements, Bencivengo's lawyer said his client took the money as a loan.

Hamilton mayor turns himself in to FBI

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