FALL RIVER — Just hours after announcing a press conference to discuss a ‘significant development’ in his re-election campaign, campaign staff for embattled Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia have confirmed he plans to take a leave of absence.

Campaign media contact Daniel Pesquera has confirmed with WBSM News multiple media reports that Correia plans to take a leave of absence and suspend his re-election campaign as he fights a laundry list of federal charges.

Campaign Spokesperson George Regan also confirmed, through Pesquera, that Correia plans to hand over most of the mayoral duties to City Council President Cliff Ponte.  Ponte would then become acting Mayor until the newly elected Mayor in the November final election is sworn in in January.

Regan also confirms reports in the Boston Globe stating that Correia plans to retain the title of Mayor and his $119,000 annual salary until his term is over.

The news comes just hours after Correia’s campaign staff sent out a news release notifying the media of a press conference in Fall River on Tuesday at 12:00 p.m. to discuss a ‘significant’ announcement regarding his re-election campaign. Pesquera tells WBSM News that Correia still plans to hold a press conference to discuss the decision. He also says Correia still plans to not take any questions from the media.

Mayor Correia is facing a litany of federal charges pending from two separate cases. His most recent arrest at the hands of the FBI was in September on a 13-count federal indictment charging him with extorting hundreds of thousands of dollars from marijuana vendors looking to do business in the city.

In September of 2018, he was arrested by federal authorities for the first time for allegedly defrauding investors in the SnoOwl app he created out of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Correia had already been facing an uphill battle to re-election against School Committee member Paul Coogan. The final election in Fall River is November 5.

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