Friday, March 28, 2008

Puerto Rico governor turns self in to FBI, pleads not guilty

Go to CNN original
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) -- Puerto Rico Gov. Anibal Acevedo Vila pleaded not guilty Friday to corruption charges in an alleged campaign finance scheme and was released on his own recognizance.

Hundreds of flag-waving supporters turned out to cheer Acevedo when he arrived at the federal courthouse in San Juan to be fingerprinted and have his mug shot taken.

The governor, who appeared before a federal magistrate, used a smart phone to send a message of gratitude from inside the courthouse to his raucous supporters outside.

"We recognize the presence of the outraged Puerto Ricans here in defense of our people," he said. "We give them thanks and respect."

The governor, charged with 19 counts carrying a potential prison sentence of up to 20 years, is the first Puerto Rican governor to face federal charges since the island became a semiautonomous U.S. commonwealth in 1952.

A grand jury indictment accuses Acevedo and a dozen associates of illegally raising money to pay off more than $500,000 in campaign debts from his two terms as Puerto Rico's nonvoting delegate to Congress from 2000-2004.


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