Today, government corruption is a hot topic. In New Jersey, it’s a particularly well-discussed issue. There’s a good reason for this – NJ government corruption has been prevalent in recent years. Throughout the year, there were several cases of NJ government corruption. Find out what happened and what the results were of each corruption case.
1. A Governor’s Misconduct
Governor Chris Christie was in the public eye for the Bridgegate case. However, that was not his only brush with NJ government corruption charges. After the Bridgegate trial, someone filed a misconduct complaint against Governor Christie. Under the complaint, the individual claimed that Christie knew more about Bridgegate than he admitted.
One of the Governor’s spokesman said that the complaint was dishonorable. However, a judge didn’t seem to agree. He said that the case had probable cause. As a result, he allowed the case to progress through the system. Although Christie didn’t face penalties for Bridgegate, he could face penalties for this misconduct charge.
2. Strong-Arming an Airline
The investigation that occurred during Bridgegate hurt some other public officials. Specifically, it hurt David Samson and Jamie Fox. During the investigation, reporters discovered that the chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey committed a crime. They found that he forced an airline to re-commence flights to a certain South Carolina city. Although the flights were unviable, the airline complied with Samson’s request. He wanted an easier way to fly down to his summer home. For his actions, Samson was charged and found guilty.
Also charged was Jamie Fox, a state cabinet official. He was also a lobbyist for the airline and played a part in the incident.
3. Assemblyman Fraud
In another case of NJ government corruption, Assemblyman Robert Schroeder had a run-in with the law. He spent four years of his career denying accusations of fraud. However, he eventually pleaded guilty to misconduct charges in 2016.
The accusations involved a multi-million dollar fraud scam. Although his charges were embarrassing to the NJ government, things could have been worse. Schroeder once asked for a nomination for governor. If he pleaded guilty while he was governor, then the incident would be even more disgraceful.
4. Scheming Senator
In 2015, New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez was indicted for bribery charges. In exchange for campaign donations and fancy vacations, Menendez gave Salomon Melgen political favors. As a rich eye surgeon, Melgen had quite a lot to give to the senator.
Even after his indictment, Menendez denied the charges. In the public eye, he claimed that his actions were acts of friendship, not bribery. It is possible that the Supreme Court will see it that way. In a similar case against a Virginia governor, the US Supreme Court threw out the case.
5. Questionable Campaign Contributions
The issue of campaign contributions often causes trouble for government officials. Although the Birdsall Services Group made some questionable donations, no elected officials faced charges. However, that doesn’t mean that this isn’t an example of NJ government corruption. The Birdsall incident is a prime example of corruption.
The incident involved an engineering firm that had a plan to work around New Jersey pay-to-play laws. With a $1 million scheme, the company gave money back to employees who made campaign contributions to NJ politicians. The scheme allowed the company to give as much money as they wanted to the politicians who would help them.
After the scheme went public, many employees faced charges. The CEO of the company, Howard Birdsall, pleaded guilty to corporate misconduct. In court, he admitted that he paid back his employees after they made campaign contributions in NJ. As a result of his actions, Birdsall was sentenced to four years in prison. Many of his executives also face jail time. However, Birdsall’s sentence doesn’t mean much. He only spent a few months in jail. Then, they released him in an Intensive Supervision Program.
Fighting the NJ Government Corruption Charges
Although some of the elected officials faced the consequences for their actions, many of them did not. In some cases, they faced the consequences but they were minimal. However, this didn’t happen by chance. It occurred because the elected officials selected experienced lawyers to represent them.
Fighting charges of bribery and misconduct are not easy. When the charges involve a government official, the charges become even harder to fight. Judges often hold elected officials to higher standards. Additionally, the charges tend to be more serious. For example, a bribery charge that involves billions of dollars can be more challenging to fight than one for thousands of dollars. In many of these cases, the stakes were high.
Nevertheless, some lawyers found a way out for their clients. No matter how impossible your situation might seem, there’s always a way out. You need to talk to a lawyer to explore your options. Until you do, you won’t know if there’s a defense that could save you.