In opening statements, Dwyer argued that Pizzi pocketed bribes from a now-convicted Miami-Dade County lobbyist and the undercover agents posing as sleazy businessmen. By dangling bribes in front of him, they talked the mayor into supporting the federal grant proposals purportedly to spur job growth in his community and the neighboring town of Medley.
Dwyer said Pizzi intentionally grabbed the money and campaign checks to line his pockets — a total of $6,750 — knowing that Miami Lakes and Medley would not be benefiting from any federal grants for a jobs feasbility study.
“This case is about a powerful politician who sold his power, who sold his position,” Dwyer told the jurors.
In Pizzi’s defense, Shohat said the federal case was “horribly flawed” on several levels, including the sting operation’s premise, the FBI’s investigative techniques and the prosecution’s get-rich allegation.
“He didn’t sell his office,” argued Shohat, who is handling the defense with three other lawyers, Ben Kuehne, Michael Davis and Ralf Rodriguez. “He didn’t risk his entire career for $6,750.”
Thursday, July 10, 2014
Pizzi opening statements
The Herald covers them here: