Posts Tagged ‘District of New Jersey’
Friday, March 12th, 2010

Lou Manzo (gov)

A former New Jersey lawmaker on Monday will release information about alleged prosecutorial misconduct in the handling of a public corruption case, The Hudson Reporter of New Jersey reported Friday.

In July 2009, 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.

Former state Assemblyman Lou Manzo, who was among those arrested, said that on Monday he will hold a press conference at which he will present “evidence documenting issues of prosecution misconduct in the Bid Rig III investigation and prosecution,” according to a news release from Manzo.

Last week, Manzo told the newspaper that his evidence relates to campaign donations to then-U.S. Attorney Chris Christie from attorneys working on the sting. Christie was waging what turned out to be a successful campaign for governor. According to the newspaper, the case ultimately benefited Christie’s campaign.

This post has been updated since it was first posted.

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

Marc Larkins speaks after Gov. Chris Christie announces his nomination. (gov)

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has named Marc Larkins to be the executive director of the New Jersey School Development Authority Board, according to a news release.

Larkins is an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey who has held a number of positions in the office since he joined in 2003. He has served as Executive Assistant U.S. Attorney, Acting First Assistant U.S. Attorney, Acting Executive U.S. Attorney and council. In addition, he has been the chief of the government fraud unit.

Before joining the U.S. Attorney’s office, Larkins was a trial attorney in the Justice Department’s Civil Division from 1999 to March 2003. Simultaneously, from February 2000 to March 2002, Larkins was Special Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia.

Christie, who was U.S. Attorney for New Jersey from 2002-2008, had already named eight of his former colleagues from the U.S. Attorney’s office to serve in his administration. They are:

  • Robert Hanna to be the director of the Division of Law in the Attorney General’s office.
  • Stephen Taylor to be the director of Criminal Justice in the AG’s office.
  • Deborah Gramiccioni to be director of the Authorities Unit in the AG’s office.
  • Jeffrey S. Chiesa to be Christie’s chief counsel.
  • Kevin M. O’Dowd to be deputy chief counsel.
  • Charles McKenna to be head of the state’s Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness.
  • Michele Brown to be appointments counsel.
  • Lee Solomon to be the president of the board of public utilities.
Friday, January 22nd, 2010

Gov. Chris Christie (gov)

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has named Lee Solomon to be the president of the board of public utilities, The Star-Ledger of New Jersey reports.

Solomon, who currently is a state Superior Court judge in Camden County, was a Deputy U.S. Attorney under Christie, running the prosecutor’s offices in Camden and Trenton. He previously was a Camden County Freeholder, a state assemblyman, 1992 GOP congressional candidate and Camden County prosecutor. Christie was the U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey from 2002-2008.

During the news conference at which Christie announced Solomon’s new post, the governor praised Solomon’s judgment and people skills, adding that he had sought proven managers for his cabinet because “a lot of state government has been dysfunctional,” The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

Christie has already named seven of his former colleagues from the U.S. Attorney’s office to serve in his administration. They are:

  • Robert Hanna to be the director of the Division of Law in the Attorney General’s office.
  • Stephen Taylor to be the director of Criminal Justice in the AG’s office.
  • Deborah Gramiccioni to be director of the Authorities Unit in the AG’s office.
  • Jeffrey S. Chiesa to be Christie’s chief counsel.
  • Kevin M. O’Dowd to be deputy chief counsel.
  • Charles McKenna to be head of the state’s Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness.
  • Michele Brown to be appointments counsel.
Friday, January 15th, 2010

Michele Brown (McElroy, Deutsch, Mulvaney & Carpenter)

New Jersey Gov.-elect Chris Christie on Friday said he will name former Assistant U.S. Attorney Michele Brown to be appointments counsel in his administration, The Associated Press reported. Brown, who was one of Christie’s assistants when he ran the New Jersey U.S. Attorney’s office, resigned from her job as acting First Assistant U.S. Attorney in August amid several campaign-related controversies.

When he was U.S. Attorney, Christie took out a second mortgage on his home to loan Brown $46,000, but failed the report the information on his financial disclosures and tax returns. Brown also came under fire by the campaign of Christie’s opponent, Gov. Jon Corzine (D), for working to fulfill a Freedom of Information Act request that concerned her and Christie’s travel records.

The FOIA records revealed that Christie exceeded his government lodging allowance when traveling as U.S. Attorney, often staying in luxury hotels, and that he approved Brown’s requests to stay in some of the same five-star hotels as he.

In addition, the New York Times reported that Brown assisted the Christie campaign by delaying the U.S. Attorney office’s response to the Corzine campaign’s FOIA requests. As a result, then-interim U.S. Attorney Ralph Marra came under pressure from unnamed Justice Department officials to remove Brown from collecting records for the campaign’s request, the Times reported.

Brown resigned shortly thereafter to take a job at McElroy, Deutsch, Mulvaney & Carpenter.

Christie has already named six of his former colleagues from his U.S. Attorney’s office to serve in his administration. They are:

  • Robert Hanna to be the director of the Division of Law in the Attorney General’s office,
  • Stephen Taylor to be the director of Criminal Justice in the AG’s office,
  • Deborah Gramiccioni to be director of the Authorities Unit in the AG’s office,
  • Jeffrey S. Chiesa to be Christie’s chief counsel,
  • Kevin M. O’Dowd to be deputy chief counsel and
  • Charles McKenna, to be head of the state’s Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness.
Friday, January 8th, 2010

New Jersey Gov.-elect Chris Christie (R) today announced that he will name he will name several more staffers from his U.S. Attorney’s office to his cabinet, NewJerseyNewsroom.com reports.

Robert Hanna (Gibbons P.C.)

Christie has tapped Robert Hanna to be the director of the Division of Law in the Attorney General’s office. Hanna, the director of the Newark, N.J. law-firm, Gibbons PC, previously was an Assistant U.S. Attorney for 16 years.

Stephen Taylor (Taylor, Colicchio & Silverman, LLP)

In addition, Stephen Taylor will be the director of Criminal Justice in the AG’s office. Taylor, who has worked in the Essex County prosecutor’s office, also has worked in the U.S. Attorney’s office in Newark, N.J. He has served as chief of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force and as chief of the Terrorism Unit.

Deborah Gramiccioni (gov)

The governor-elect also has selected Deborah Gramiccioni to be director of the Authorities Unit in the AG’s office.  Gramiccioni, who is the outgoing state Criminal Justice director, previously was the assistant chief of the fraud section in the criminal division and chief of the Commercial Crimes United in the U.S. Attorney’s office in Newark, N.J.

Christie has already tapped three of his former subordinates from the U.S. Attorney’s office for his administration – Jeffrey S. Chiesa, who will be Christie’s chief counsel; Kevin M. O’Dowd, who will be deputy chief counsel; and Charles McKenna, who will head the state’s Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness.

Saturday, August 22nd, 2009

New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine’s (D) running mate “continued to insinuate” an improper relationship between Republican challenger Chris Christie and members of the U.S. Attorney’s office Christie formerly headed, PolitickerNJ reported.

Specifically, prosecutor Michele Brown should be removed from any involvement fulfilling a Corzine Freedom of Information Act request about the office, the governor’s running mate, state Sen. Loretta Weinberg, has said, the politics blog reported Friday.

On Monday, Christie revealed that while he was U.S. Attorney he loaned Brown — $46,000. In addition, he said he’d failed to disclose the loan on his tax returns and financial disclosure forms. He called the omissions an oversight.

Six months ago, the Corzine campaign filed FOIA requests related to Christie’s time in the office, a request which has yet to be fulfilled. Daily Kos reported that Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) on Thursday said that earlier this year, Christie bragged about “having” U.S. Attorneys in Newark, N.J. at his disposal. Pallone’s comment prompted the Corzine camp to file an administrative challenge seeking to enforce the office’s compliance with its FOIA obligations.

Corzine’s top adviser Tom Shea on Thursday filed the challenges with the Department of Justice, . Under the act, agencies must respond to FIOA requests within 20 days. However, requests do not need to be completed within this time.

PolitickerNJ reported that Weinberg on Friday said: “Based on what we already know and on today’s report by the Associated Press that Christie is refusing to answer who he’s still in contact with at the U.S. attorney’s office and how informed he is about day-to-day activities there, we are simply saying we need someone not caught up in this controversy to work on the FOIA requests.”

The Christie campaign on Thursday responded in a statement criticizing the Corzine campaign for “[n]ot only … accus[ing] the Obama administration’s Department of Justice of being ineffective and unresponsive,” but for “fail[ing] to see the irony of their righteous indignation over the timely release of internal personal communications.” The Newark Star-Leger reported that Corzine refused to release email communications between himself and former state workers union leader Carla Katz, his ex-girlfriend, as talks regarding a state workers’ contact began.

Earlier this week, acting U.S. Attorney Ralph Marra, who has been dealing with his own ethics issues, said Corzine’s request was delayed because it requires sorting through a lot of records. In addition, he said that “Michele [Brown] is not in charge of the process;” however, last week he said that Brown is playing a role in fulfilling the request, as some of the documents requested relate to her travel expenses and cases.

Monday, August 3rd, 2009

U.S. Attorney nominees Steven Dettelbach for Ohio’s Northern District and Carter M. Stewart for Ohio’s Southern district were nominated July 14. The Senate Judiciary Committee announced today that the Ohio nominees will come before the panel for a vote this Thursday.

Paul Fishman (Friedman, Kaplan, Seiler & Adelman)

Paul Fishman (Friedman, Kaplan, Seiler & Adelman

Jenny Durkan (Law Offices of Jenny A. Durkin)

Jenny Durkan (Law Offices of Jenny A. Durkin)

But Washington state Western District U.S. Attorney nominee Jenny Durkan and Paul Fishman, President Obama’s choice to be New Jersey’s top prosecutor, were announced May 15. They still haven’t come before the committee for a vote.

What gives? Are Republicans objecting to Durkan, who is openly gay and a confidante of Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire? Did one of those clients Fishman declined to reveal publicly turn out to be controversial? Write us at tips@mainjustice.com or click here to ensure total anonymity.