Snow days and Covid precautions have shifted the start line once again for one of Massachusetts’ most anticipated trials: that of Jasiel Correia, the former mayor of Fall River facing corruption and fraud charges in federal court.

Once a rising star elected as the youngest mayor in Fall River’s history, Correia now stands accused of turning the city’s recently legalized marijuana industry into a pay-to-play scheme. Business owners allegedly paid the 23-year-old mayor hundreds of thousands of dollars under the table in exchange for permits to open dispensaries.

Correia faces additional charges for allegedly defrauding investors in a tech startup he founded before entering politics, and stealing nearly half of the $78,000 salary that Fall River paid his chief of staff, Gen Andrade. Andrade pleaded guilty to kicking wages back to Correia in December, striking a deal with prosecutors that could spare her jail time. Three other Correia associates have pleaded guilty to related crimes.

As the last man standing in the FBI’s corruption probe into Fall River Government Center, Correia was scheduled to fight all 24 counts against him in a three-week trial starting next Monday. On Friday, a federal judge announced that the proceedings will begin instead on May 4. 

That date, like the five start dates before it that have come and gone, is subject to change as court officials manage the necessary safety precautions to hold an in-person trial during the pandemic.

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