Ex-Newark Mayor Sharpe James Leaves Prison

Tuesday, Apr 6, 2010  |  Updated 12:21 PM EDT
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Ex-Newark Mayor Sharpe James Leaves Prison

Monika Graff/Getty Images

Sharpe James, former Mayor of Newark.

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Supporters are preparing for the return of the former longtime mayor of New Jersey's largest city.

Former Newark Mayor Sharpe James left a federal prison camp in Virginia Tuesday morning and boarded a bus in Richmond for New Jersey.

James was convicted in April 2008, stemming from charges that he abused his office by steering city-owned land to his then-mistress. He received a 27-month term, which he has been serving at the prison in Petersburg, Va.

James told The Star-Ledger of Newark that he will serve the remainder of his sentence at a halfway house. He also plans to work as a mentor at an Irvington church.

James, who also was a state senator, maintains his innocence and will continue to appeal his corruption conviction.

His conviction was overseen by then prosecutor and now Gov. Chris Christie.  In an interview with The Star Ledger, James said he was looking forward to returning home.

I’m looking forward to returning to my family, my church and my city. I love all three," he told the paper.

"It’s a great federal correctional facility. I’ve adjusted, I attend chapel. It’s been a new experience," he said. When asked abut the experience of taking orders after decades of giving them, James replied, "To be a good leader, you have to be a good follower."

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