Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Frank Raia Social Club flips on him at his voter bribery trial

Raia Old Guard insider sums up blistering testimony out of the gate Wednesday in Newark: 
"If they vote, they will get paid. If they didn't work, they still get paid."

In a series of body blows on day three of his trial, Frank "Pupie" Raia saw his social club on Jefferson Street flip on him as the government delivered a devastating set of witnesses against him Wednesday.

Michael Holmes as seen in this
vintage 2011 photo.
The federal trial with Raia a defendant for a bribery scheme involving the use of the mail took a deadlier turn with Mike Holmes opening the proceedings as a witness for the government.

His testimony was akin to having a lead pipe smacked against the knees.

"My role was to get as many Vote-by-Mail as I could get," Holmes said before offering further incriminating testimony how he illegally helped voters fill out ballots for his team as directed by Raia.

Told to bring the voter ballots to the social club opened, Holmes said he refused to do so as it was illegal. He followed with an admission he took care to see the votes were cast for the One Hoboken slate underwritten by Raia and former councilwoman Beth Mason in addition to the ballot question on rent control.

He further confessed he told voters if they voted they would get paid $50,  repeatedly stating when questioned and sometimes when not, "If they didn't work they still got paid."

On the question of why he did it from Assistant US Attorney Rahul Agarwal, he answered bluntly, "That's what Raia wanted."

Some on the jury look appalled even as similar testimony was offered a day earlier by Matt Calicchio who Holmes described as a friend.

Holmes further testified to others who were operating to get Vote by Mail ballots with an expectation of payment in the Raia club naming Matt Calicchio, Anna Cintron, Liz "Church Lady" Camis, Dio Braxton and Freddie Frazier.

Holmes admitted he had a cooperation agreement to testify in the case saying if he testified truthfully, "Nothing happens to me. (I) Walk out the door not being charged with a crime."

Talking Ed Note: More on the bad day for Pupie in Newark to come. Freddie Frazier another club member friend was the last witness to testify and like Michael Holmes, spoke of a cooperation agreement if he testified truthfully in lieu of prosecution.

The Feds put a clamp on Raia's social club in a big way. In essence, they flipped the club insiders connected to Hoboken politics - all of them.

As a result, the agita is breaking out all over Hoboken.