Suspended Miami Lakes Mayor Michael Pizzi has been acquitted of all public corruption charges brought against him in federal court.
Prosecutors said Pizzi allegedly received $5,000 in kickbacks for a Miami Lakes grant deal, but a federal jury disagreed when they delivered the not guilty verdict just before 4 p.m. Thursday.
Pizzi, 51, and Sweetwater Mayor Manuel Marono were arrested in August of 2013 following an undercover FBI operation that also produced the arrests of lobbyists Richard Candia and Jorge Forte. Candia introduced Pizzi to undercover FBI agents to help implement the plan that paid the mayors thousands of dollars in bribes under a federal grant scheme, authorities said.
Pizzi was accused of backdating documents, misleading undercover agents and receiving cash payoffs in carrying out the scheme.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott suspended Pizzi from office immediately after the arrest. Pizzi said later Thursday evening that Governor Scott has reinstated him to his office.
Governor Scott's office released a statement after Pizzi made his claim that read: "This is a local issue. A new mayor has been elected by the voters of Miami Lakes."