Former Hoboken Mayor Peter Cammarano pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to commit extortion in connection with a massive corruption scandal in New Jersey last year.
Cammarano, 32, had been charged with taking $25,000 in bribes from a developer. He pleaded guilty in federal court to one count of conspiracy to commit extortion to try and get contributions for his "future influence in Hoboken government."
According to federal officials, when a government witness offered Cammarano thousands of dollars to push through a fictitious high-rise development plan, the new mayor allegedly said, "Great --and we're going to be friends for a long time."
Cammarano, an attorney who was also the youngest mayor in Hoboken's history, is the most prominent former official to plead guilty in the massive corruption sweep. So far, sixteen other defendants have admitted guilt.
Defense attorney Joseph Hayden said Cammarano has "accepted responsibility," and after serving his prison time he "expect[s] he will rebuild his life and be a positive member of society."
Cammarano, who initially maintained his innocence, stepped down in the weeks following his arrest, saying, "it has turned out that the controversy surrounding the charges against me has become a distraction to me and an impediment to the functioning of Hoboken government."
City Council President Dawn Zimmer, who lost by 161 votes to Cammarano in a runoff election last year, has been sworn in as acting mayor. A special election will be held Nov. 3 to fill the seat.
The corruption sweep was the largest in New Jersey's history and netting 46 people, including three mayors, two state legislators and five rabbis and dozens of other prominent state residents.