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Appeals Court Considers Pizzi's Return To Office

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) - Attorneys for former Miami Lakes Mayor Michael Pizzi made their case before the Third District Court of Appeal as to why the city should give him his old job back following his acquittal on federal corruption charges.

"We remain confident that the court will understand the legal issue and will issue an order appropriately," said Pizzi attorney Ben Kuehne.

Miami Lakes is fighting to keep their current Mayor, Wayne Slaton, who was elected in a special election after Pizzi was removed from office by Governor Rick Scott.

A year later he celebrated when he was found not guilty on all counts in a federal trial. Since then he had been battling to be reinstated in office.

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The town insists Slaton should remain in office and that Pizzi's term has run out.

"Because there were more than six months left on Mayor Pizzi's term and he was suspended, there had to be an election for a new mayor. If there had been less than six months, and he was acquitted and charges were dropped, then he could've come back to office," said the city's attorney Raul Gastesi.

Wednesday morning the appeals court listened to both sides but did not issue a ruling.

The clock is ticking however. On March 31st, Judge Gisella Cardonne Ely ruled that Pizzi should be returned to office but then issued a stay which expires April 30th.

The town's attorney, Raul Gastesi, said their fight to retain Slaton is supported by the Town Charter, Vice-Mayor Manny Cid said he has a "sworn duty" to defend the town charter. The town insists that its charter made Slaton the "permanent" mayor, although the trial judge didn't see it that way.

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