NEWARK, N.J. - A woman on trial with former Newark Mayor Sharpe James had an affair with James but did not profit from any city land deals, her attorney said.
The Newark (N.J.) Star-Ledger reported that Gerald Krovatin, the attorney for Tamika Riley, said the affair lasted about six months in 2002. The two became involved after Riley, a 38-year-old Jersey City publicist, purchased city property at discounted prices.
"These things happen sometimes between people," he said. "The relationship, such as it was, had nothing to do with her acquiring the properties."
Federal prosecutors argue that the 72-year-old former five-term mayor helped Riley buy the property and then sell it for a profit of nearly $700,000, the newspaper reported.
"He did so not because of her qualifications as a developer," Assistant U.S. Attorney Phillip Kwon told jurors. "He did so because she was his girlfriend."
Opening arguments in the case were heard Monday. The trial is expected to last two to three months.
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