Mayor of Hartford, Conn., convicted

June 18, 2010 at 3:24 PM

HARTFORD, Conn., June 18 (UPI) -- Eddie Perez, the mayor of Hartford, Connecticut's capital city, was convicted Friday of bribery, extortion and conspiracy.

Perez faces from five to 55 years in state prison, The Hartford Courant reported. The judge set Sept. 10 as his sentencing date.

After the verdict, Perez said he plans to appeal. Asked if the mayor would resign, an aide said Perez plans to make an announcement next week, WTNH-TV reported.

Perez's wife, Maria, collapsed in the courtroom, the Courant said. Surrounded by a crowd of friends and supporters, she lay on the floor in an aisle sobbing and screaming, "He's a good man."

The courtroom was cleared and she was escorted from the building by a rear entrance after treatment by paramedics.

The state began an investigation in 2007 after an investigative story in the Courant reported allegations Perez was shaking down contractors and developers.

"The city of Hartford is a very good city," Kevin Kane, the chief state's attorney, said. "There are a lot of good people in it. Hopefully, they'll go forward in a positive way."

Perez, the first Hispanic to serve as mayor of Hartford, was elected in 2001.

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