Jasiel Correia, the former wunderkind mayor of Fall River, is appealing all 21 convictions a jury returned against him this spring. 

Correia’s 70-page motion was filed on Monday, shortly before a deadline for disputing the convictions expired. His latest attorney, Daniel Marx, wrote that the evidence used against Correia during the four-week trial was “a mile wide but an inch deep.”

The trial opened with testimony about the financial collapse of SnoOwl, a tech company Correia founded before winning office at age 23. Prosecutors presented bank records showing Correia spent hundreds of thousands of dollars from investors on personal expenses, including vacations, dates, designer clothing and a sports car.

“The alleged misuse of investor funds by an inexperienced entrepreneur was not a federal crime,” Marx later wrote in the appeal. 

The second part of Correia’s trial focused on a series of bribes marijuana companies paid in exchange for the mayor’s approval. Several of the bribes passed through middlemen, whose credibility as witnesses is central to the appeal.

“And among all the aspiring marijuana vendors approved by Fall River, only a few admitted criminals and liars concocted false stories to implicate Mr. Correia and save themselves,” Marx wrote.

Antonio Costa, a witness who described passing bribes from marijuana companies to Correia, pleaded guilty to making false statements about the case to investigators before the trial started. Marx cited Costa’s statements from the witness stand in the appeal.

“He testified that he repeatedly lied to FBI agents, lied to the grand jury, and tampered with witnesses,” Marx wrote. “Costa even lied to, and cheated, his alleged co-conspirators, Mr. Correia and [mayoral aide Hildegar] Camara. Costa admitted that he ‘played both sides,’ telling no one the truth, and keeping the money for himself.”

Correia’s appeal attacks the 21 convictions with a wide variety of strategies. On a count of extortion conspiracy, for instance, Marx argues Correia's conviction should be overturned because the "co-conspirator" who paid the bribe was an unwilling participant who acted out of fear of retaliation. On a separate count of wire fraud, Marx argues Correia is innocent because he may have delivered a misleading investor agreement in person rather than by email.

The decision to uphold or vacate the convictions comes first to Judge Douglas Woodlock, who oversaw Correia’s four-week trial this spring. Unless all 21 convictions are erased, Marx said he will ask for the case to be heard again — this time at two separate trials. 

The appeal argues that combining corruption at City Hall and mismanagement at SnoOwl into a single trial allowed prosecutors to capitalize on “spillover prejudice” to get their convictions. 

Marx added that Correia would have personally testified to deny receiving bribes if the cases had been separated.

The appeal follows through on a promise Correia made in May while leaving the courthouse where he was convicted.

"Unfortunately, there was a couple things that didn't go our way that were technical today, and that's what will be our grounds for appeal," Correia said at the time. "And we'll win that appeal and I will be vindicated. My future will be very long and great."

Ben Berke is the South Coast Bureau Reporter for The Public’s Radio. He can be reached at bberke@thepublicsradio.org.



















On one count, Correia’s new attorney Daniel Marx argues his client must be found innocent of conspiracy, because the bribes were presented as a shakedown where the victim’s consent was forced. 



The 70-page filing portrays Correia as an “inexperienced entrepreneur” who made financial mistakes, not a criminal who willfully committed fraud. 




“The alleged misuse of investor funds by an inexperienced entrepreneur was not a federal crime. And among all the aspiring marijuana vendors approved by Fall River, only a few admitted criminals and liars concted false stories to implicate Mr. Correia and save themselves.