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Puerto Rico ex-governor acquitted on corruption charges

[JURIST] A federal jury at the US District Court for the District of Puerto Rico [official website] on Friday found former Puerto Rican governor Anibal Acevedo Vila [JURIST news archive] not guilty on nine counts of conspiracy, false statements, and wire fraud, among other crimes. The charges stem from alleged violations of the Federal Election Campaign Act [text] during Vila's 1999-2000 and 2001-2002 campaigns to become Puerto Rico's Resident Commissioner in the US House of Representatives and his 2004 gubernatorial campaign. In the original indictment [text, PDF; JURIST report], prosecutors accused Vila and twelve others of authorizing illegal and unreported contributions to pay off debts in excess of $500,000 incurred during Vila's campaigns.

Vila is a member of the Popular Democratic Party [party website, in Spanish], which does not support full US statehood for the Commonwealth. In 2004, Vila narrowly defeated former governor and pro-statehood candidate Pedro Rossello [campaign website, in Spanish] in a disputed gubernatorial election [JURIST report]. It is believed that Vila lost his bid [LAHT Report] for a second gubernatorial term in November due to the corruption charges.

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