"In America you're innocent until proven guilty. And I am innocent!"
Those were the words of Trenton Mayor Tony Mack during his first public appearance since rumors surfaced that he may be working on a plea deal in his public corruption case.
Mack held a press conference Monday at 11 a.m. to announce the reconstruction of the sidewalks, curbs and road between Pennington Avenue and Banks Street in Trenton. The upgrades were made possible due to a New Jersey Department of Transportation grant.
The appearance followed remarks by Mack’s attorney claiming they’ve been given an opportunity to review secretly recorded wiretaps and video. Mayor Mack was arrested last month after a two year investigation into allegations of public corruption. According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, Mack, his brother Raphael and campaign donor Joseph "JoJo" Giorgianni, joined forces to extort $100,000 from federal informants posing as city developers.
NBC10’s Monique Braxton asked Mack about the allegations during his press conference.
“This project is about the groundbreaking of Warren Street,” said Mack. “I made my official statements on the other issues at hand. And that’s my final statement. I do appreciate you being here though because I’ve never seen you in Trenton. I watch you on television an awful lot and I value your work.”
“Would you share with us whether or not you’re open to a plea deal with the government?” asked NBC10’s Monique Braxton.
“I don’t know if you understood my statement before,” replied Mack. “But in America you’re innocent until proven guilty. And I am innocent!”
Mack’s attorney claimed that any time clients are allowed to view materials, especially while on the opposite side of the law, a plea deal may be in the works. The government has not commented however.
Council-members requested Mack appear before them on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. to find out what he's done in the past two years. Some want to reduce his annual salary from $126,000 to $60,000.
"I haven't seen him perform the duties that are attached to the seat of the mayor," said Trenton Council President Phyllis Holly-Ward. "
"He needs to stand up to the plate and act like a mayor," said Trenton council-member George Muschal.
Council-members also plan on discussing Mack's proposal of a property tax increase during tomorrow's meeting.