Pine Lawn mayor enters guilty plea, resigns position -

Pine Lawn mayor enters guilty plea, resigns position

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ST. LOUIS ( -- Pine Lawn Mayor Sylvester Caldwell pleaded guilty to one count each of extortion involving a convenience store and attempted extortion involving a towing company in federal court Monday.

Caldwell agreed to resign as mayor as a condition of remaining at liberty on bail until sentencing July 7.

Each count carries a maximum penalty of three years in prison and $200,000 fine. Caldwell's guilty plea will be calculated into his sentence as part of the agreement with prosecutors.

In opening statements, Caldwell's lawyers acknowledged that he had taken bribes, but said his actions did not amount to extortion.

A tow truck driver and convenience store manager both testified they feared repercussions to their businesses if they did not meet Caldwell's repeated requests for cash. 

"Now because he got charged, he's going away to jail, I'm happy, I'm free," said Akram Abdelsamed, the owner of the Pine Lawn Food Market.

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