Disgraced Passaic mayor resigns after corruption plea

Passaic Mayor Sammy Rivera resigned his post Friday after pleading guilty to corruption charges.

Rivera faces up to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to extortion for taking a $5,000 bribe. At the time of his arraignment four months ago, Rivera's attorney insisted his client would be exonerated of the charges.

He was arrested in September along with nine others after an 18-month undercover investigation. Rivera is now the eighth of the group to either plead guilty or be convicted.

The disgraced politician will be sentenced in August. In addition to his jail sentence, Rivera faces a fine of up to $250,000.

Rivera, a former professional wrestler, is not a stranger to controversy. In 1986, he admitted to helping in the cover-up of a murder while serving as a police officer in Puerto Rico.

His 2001 election was upheld by a judge despite objections from the state. A year into his term, Rivera was accused of threatening to kill a man who claimed the mayor was having an affair with his wife. Rivera was found not guilty on that charge.

He was, however, convicted of a disorderly persons charge four years ago for biting his adult daughter in an argument. A year later, Rivera's ex-wife was granted a restraining order against him. She claimed the mayor had roughed her up by biting her, pulling her hair, scratching her and throwing her to the ground.

Passaic mayor indicted in corruption probe More New Jersey politicians in trouble with the law

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