The New York Times this morning reports an alarming story of systemic corruption in the Hunterdon County, New Jersey sheriff’s office, with a trail leading straight to the New Jersey Attorney General and other appointees of Governor Chris Christie.
I’m not going to recapitulate the whole tangled spider’s web of sleazy and corrupt interlocking acts by Christie appointees. Just go here and read the lengthy and very well-reported New York Times horror story by Michael Powell.
But I can’t resist a few highlights:
• A Hunterdon County Grand Jury indicts a Christie-appointed sheriff on 43 counts of what comes down to downright abuse of power worthy of a police state. So what happens?
• The state takes over the county prosecutor’s office and fires three veteran prosecutors
• A deputy state attorney general walks into a state court and asks that the case be dismissed, insisting that the case was full of “legal and factual deficiencies,” but enumerating not one of them. Does the judge ask the deputy attorney general what the heck he's talking about, or for evidence of those "deficiencies?" Nah! The judge simply dismisses the case.
• When one of the dismissed prosecutors sues, “claiming that the attorney general killed the indictment to protect prominent supporters of the governor,” the records of the indictment get spirited away to the state capital, where the state has now has them hidden while it resists and appeals court orders to release them.
There’s more. Powell learned of so called “law enforcement” officials doing the backgrounds checks on…themselves! There were threats from law enforcement against someone whose website reported on the matter. Police IDs get issued to friendly campaign contributors. Explanations from the attorney general’s spokesman about what’s going on and why change with the wind.
I urge you to read this, and keep in mind that Governor Christie is a potential Republican candidate for president. Given his police state tactics in New Jersey, that’s not just worrisome. It’s terrifying.