Thursday, July 23, 2009
Back in the 1970s and 80s, the FBI ran an undercover operation to stop corruption by government officials. Convictions included a New Jersey Senator, members of Congress and others. The government set up a phony business to lure individuals to commit crimes, and despite claims of entrapment and outrageous government conduct, many of the convictions stood.
Fast forward 30 years and we see the government again is using an undercover operation to arrest many politicians and some religious leaders. The charges are no longer simple bribery or conspiracy charges. Rather now we see newer statutes, like money laundering, statutes that carry more significant penalties.
An Acting US Attorney is proud to say that he is behind charges against "mayors of Hoboken, Secaucus and Ridgefield, the Jersey City deputy mayor and council president, two state assemblymen, numerous other public officials and political figures," and yes community religious leaders. The long list of complaints and press release can be found here. But as one reads these complaints one has to wonder about the "CW" - cooperating witness - that seems to be behind so many of these cases. One also has to wonder what if any individual gains or profits accrued to each of the individuals charged with the alleged crimes. Finally one has to wonder why the government felt a "perp walk" was necessary here. Did they really think these individuals would flee, destroy evidence, or not turn themselves in voluntarily?
See also, Ted Sherman & Joe Ryan, NJ.com, Massive N.J. corruption sting targets mayors, legislators, rabbis