James and Riley make statements to the court

NEWARK – Former Newark Mayor Sharpe James approached the judge moments earlier and thanked him for his “professionalism” in the way he’s run the trial.

“I would like to apologize to my wife (sons and mother)…for suffering they have had to endure,” James said. “I would like to thank the citizens of Newark…we’ve become an extended family.”

He insisted he did not mean any harm.

“I’m simply trying to make Newark a better place than I found it in 1986,” said the former mayor.”If I made a mistake, Your Honor, it was not of malice. I would never do anything to hurt the people of Newark.”

He asked for forgiveness, and leniency.

“I do have a wife who is dependant on me, three sons, and 93-year old mother,” he added. “I made a mistake. I’m a human being.”

The Riley team was up next.

“I ask the court to temper justice with mercy,” said Riley’s attorney Gerald Krovatin.

In an impassioned address to the court, Riley fought tears.

“I want to apologize for being in your court room. Judge Martini, I am so sorry for all of the mistakes I’ve made, but I did not come to the City of Newark to defraud the people, to do the things that they said that I did.”

She also apologized to Sharpe James’s wife.

“I’m not a bad person, sometimes I’m not even good, but I’m not the worst person,” Riley said.

And to Martini, “You ain’t never going have to worry about me coming back to your courtroom ever again.”

James and Riley make statements to the court