Ex-mayor pleads guilty to corruption day after resignation

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This in Jan. 28, 2019 photo, Scranton Mayor Bill Courtright departs from a funeral service for a Scranton Police patrolman at St. Peter’s Cathedral in Scranton, Pa. Mayor Bill Courtright wrote City Council members to say he was stepping down Monday, July 1, 2019, a day before he’s scheduled to appear in federal court in what prosecutors said is a corruption investigation. (Christopher Dolan/The Times-Tribune via AP)

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (AP) — The former mayor of Scranton, Pennsylvania, has pleaded guilty to charges he shook down businesses for bribes and campaign contributions throughout his term-and-a-half in office.

Bill Courtright’s plea in federal court Tuesday to charges of bribery, extortion, and conspiracy came less than 24 hours after he resigned as mayor of the city of 78,000.

He was released without bail pending sentencing in November.

He is now the third Democratic mayor in eastern Pennsylvania to be convicted on public corruption charges in about 16 months, all engaging in similar schemes.

Federal prosecutors say the 61-year-old Courtright collected tens of thousands of dollars in bribes by pressuring people who needed city permits or contracts.

He also got use of beach property, carpentry at a karate club he owns and landscaping at his home.

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