Bombs drop on day one of Frank “Pupie” Raia voter fraud trial

Jury selection went off without a hitch Monday morning paving the way for opening arguments in the Frank “Pupie” Raia voter fraud bribery trial in Newark federal court.

The first government star witness against Raia: Matt Calicchio. The longtime Old Guard political operative who was an employee for most of the time with Beth Mason under scrutiny in the 2013 and 2015 Hoboken elections.

He will be sentenced for his admission in the voter fraud bribery scheme using the mail in September.

Frank “Pupie” Raia in this 2011 photo at a City Council meeting on the topic of saving the local hospital. 

According to the first-hand report from the Hudson County View:

Calicchio, the government’s first witness, pleaded guilty to participating in vote-by-mail fraud last month in connection to the 2013 and 2015 municipal elections in Hoboken.
He said that he worked at Raia’s direction in 2013 and that a different candidate for office directed him in 2015, but the government moved the line of questioning along before he could state who that was.
Calicchio faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison along with a $250,000 fine and noted that he’s required to tell the truth as part of his cooperation agreement with the government (the agreement will be voided if he is caught lying under oath).

Another portion of Calicchio’s testimony alleged Raia formed a third mayoral ticket to undercut mayoral candidate Ruben Ramos thus aiding former mayor Dawn Zimmer in the same election.

Talking Ed Note: Day two of the trial is expected to see more testifying from Matt Calicchio. He may be followed with a surprising Old Guard soldier testifying on behalf of the government.

Related: The 2013 report on breaking the story:

520 Jefferson St – payoffs for votes?

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