HAMMOND, Ind. (AP) — A former northwestern Indiana mayor is being allowed to stay out of prison while he appeals his conviction on bribery and tax evasion charges.

A federal judge ruled this past week that former Portage Mayor James Snyder had legitimate issues for appeal and could remain free on bond rather than surrender on Jan. 5 to begin serving a 21-month prison sentence.

A jury convicted Snyder in March of taking a $13,000 bribe in 2014 in return for steering a $1.1 million city contract to a trucking company. Snyder, a Republican, has maintained the money was payment for consulting work that he declared on his income tax returns.