Sharpe James (born February 20, 1936) is a Democratic politician and convicted felon from New Jersey, who served as State Senator for the 29th Legislative District and was 35th Mayor of Newark, New Jersey. James was the second African American Mayor of Newark and served five, four-year terms before declining to run for re-election. From June 1999 until leaving his position as Mayor in July 2006, James simultaneously served as Mayor of Newark and New Jersey State Senator. He declined to run for re-election to the State Senate in 2007; his term as Senator expired in January 2008. Prior to politics, James worked as a physical education teacher.
On 12 July 2007, a federal grand jury sitting in Newark indicted James on 25 counts that include mail fraud, wire fraud, and conspiracy. James pled not guilty and his trial on five counts of fraud began 4 March 2008.
On 16 April 2008, James was convicted of five counts of fraud by a federal jury. The jury found that James abused a program to revitalize Newark's South Ward, selling city-owned property to a former girlfriend for approximately $46,000, which she then flipped for a profit of over $600,000. He faced seven to eight years in prison and still faces federal corruption charges stemming from the misuse of over $58,000 on city credit cards. On May 12, 2008 it was reported there will not be an additional trial. On July 29, 2008 he was sentenced to 27 months in prison.