On Monday afternoon, Scranton Mayor Bill Courtright resigned from office after entering a plea agreement on three federal charges that include bribery, conspiracy, and “attempt to obstruct commerce by extortion.”
— Stacy Lange (@stacylange) July 1, 2019
“As of 4:00 p.m. today, I hereby resign from my position as Mayor of the City of Scranton,” Courtright said in the letter to council on Monday.
In January, the FBI raided Scranton City Hall and Courtright’s house. Rumors surfaced that Courtright would resign days after the raid, but he shot those down without commenting further on the raid and investigation.
Citizens Voice reports that the corruption began in the beginning of his first term in 2014, when Courtright threatened “economic harm” to businesses that did not provide support to his campaign among other actions. Courtright’s attorney signed the plea agreement on June 26, while U.S. attorneys signed it June 27 and July 1.
According to the Times Leader, Courtright could spend a possible maximum of 35 years in prison and be forced to pay up to $750,000 in fines, although it’s likely to be less than the maximum.
As a result of Courtright’s resignation, council president Pat Rogan will be acting mayor until council appoints someone to fill out the mayor’s term, WNEP reports.
Courtright is in a federal courtroom in Williamsport this morning, while the U.S. Attorney’s Office will be holding a press conference in Scranton at 2 p.m. this afternoon.
The now ex-Democratic Mayor was re-elected for a second term in 2017.
WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (@AP) — The ex-mayor of Scranton has pleaded guilty to charges he shook down businesses throughout his term-and-a-half in office. Bill Courtright’s plea in federal court to charges of bribery, extortion and conspiracy came less than 24 hours after he resigned.
— Marc Levy (@timelywriter) July 2, 2019