MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The former mayor of Miami Lakes Michael Pizzi , accused of taking bribes for thousands of dollars, was back in court Wednesday and wasn’t sure if he’d walk out a free man or go to jail.
Pizzi had to appear before a federal judge Wednesday because he admittedly violated his probation by contacting potential government witnesses for his upcoming trial.
Federal prosecutors claim Pizzi contacted government witnesses twice, even after being warned not to, in an effort to intimidate them.
His trial is just three weeks away.
The federal judge while deciding whether to throw Pizzi in jail yelled at him for walking around, waving at people and talking out of turn during a hearing for violating his probation.
After the hearing, Pizzi talked to reporters, even though his friends and family told him they thought it was a bad idea.
“I’ve now been officially muzzled,” said Pizzi. That didn’t stop mike pizzi from talking for several more minutes about how happy he was a federal judge didn’t send him to jail.
Pizzi is accused of taking about $7,000 in bribes while serving as mayor of Miami Lakes.
He was arrested as part of a federal government sting in 2013 to bust crooked politicians.
“When the trial is over, I will go back to commenting ad nauseam, rambling on, as I have for the last 30 years,” said Pizzi who has always maintained his innocence.
About eight residents from Miami Lakes who support Pizzi were at the hearing to show support.
“For me to have to shut up and keep silent and not comment on what’s going on in dade county, man that’s going to be a tough thing,” said Pizzi.
The judge told Pizzi he must not email people anymore since emailing is what prompted Wednesday’s hearing.
She made it very clear that if he steps out of line one more time, she will issue a warrant for his arrest.