A July 2009 public corruption case that netted 44 individuals was engineered by then-U.S. Attorney Chris Christie to win the governor’s office, a former New Jersey lawmaker alleged during a news conference Monday.
Last summer, 44 individuals – including 29 New Jersey elected or public officials — were arrested on charges of of public corruption and money laundering. The Associated Press reported last year that the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility had opened an internal investigation into comments made by then acting U.S. Attorney Ralph Marra at a news conference announcing the sting case.
During a news conference that took place Monday morning in Jersey City, N.J., former state Assemblyman Lou Manzo, who was among those arrested, said that prosecutors in the New Jersey U.S. Attorney’s office contributed to Christie’s campaign, received promises of jobs in a Christie administration and provided him with information about developments in the public corruption probe after Christie resigned the U.S. Attorney post in December 2008 in order to run for governor, The Associated Press reported.
“It’s obvious, when you connect the dots, there was an attempt to use a government sting as an effort to help Christie’s election to the governor of New Jersey,” Manzo said.
“It is shameful that this once great symbol of law and order has denigrated into the characteristics of a political ward club,” Manzo said, according to The Hudson Reporter.
Manzo also said he had filed a complaint with a federal judge concerning the alleged misconduct.
A spokesman for Christie dismissed the allegations.
“He appears to be just another official in New Jersey charged with corruption who wants to divert attention from his own conduct,”Christie spokesman Michael Drewniak said.
Since winning the November 2009 election against incumbent Gov. Jon Corzine (D), Christie has tapped 10 former colleagues in the U.S. Attorney’s office for state posts including ex-First Assistant U.S. Attorney Ralph Marra — who became acting U.S. Attorney in December 2008 when Christie resigned to run for governor — and former Assistant U.S. Attorney Michele Brown who resigned from her job as acting First Assistant U.S. Attorney in August amid several campaign-related controversies.
Manzo also denounced the conduct of the U.S. Attorney’s office in prosecuting the case.
This post has been updated since it was first posted.