A federal judge Wednesday came within a whisker of sending suspended Miami Lakes Mayor Michael Pizzi to jail after finding that he violated the terms of his bond and lied to a probation officer about it.
But U.S. District Judge Marcia Cooke instead allowed Pizzi to remain free on bail with less than a month before his trial on corruption charges of accepting bribes in exchange for political favors.
“If you keep this up, you will be across the street,” Cooke told Pizzi, referring to the nearby Miami Federal Detention Center. “You will be in jail.”
Cooke took Pizzi to task for sending out two political email blasts to his supporters in April that were also received by potential government witnesses the former mayor was forbidden from contacting before trial. Among the recipients: Miami Lakes town manager Alex Rey, whose administration was described as “corrupt” in Pizzi’s unsigned emails. They referred to an actual Miami-Dade County Ethics Commission’s ruling that found the town’s former public works director violated a conflict of interest law.