A rundown of scandal and corruption in New Jersey politics

Apr 4, 2015 1:24 PM by News Staff

With a corruption indictment announced last week, U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez became the latest in a long line of New Jersey's top elected officials to be hit by scandal or corruption accusations.

The Democrat denies doing anything illegal.

Here's a rundown of some of the biggest and the most recent previous political scandals, corruption charges and resignations to affect a state where politicians have less than pristine images.

1804: Vice President Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton, who had served as the nation's first Secretary of the Treasury and whose face is still on the $10 bill, have a duel in Weehawken. It kills Hamilton. Burr, a New Jersey native, is indicted on a murder charge but he was never tried.

Early 1980s: U.S. Sen. Harrison "Pete" Williams, U.S. Rep. Frank Thompson and Camden Mayor Angelo Errichetti, also a member of the state Assembly, are all among the officials convicted in the "Abscam" case, which involved accepting bribes from pretend Arab sheiks.

1984: Michael Matthews, the first mayor of Atlantic City elected by the city's voters, loses the seat in a recall election and pleads guilty to extortion. He served more than five years in prison.

2000: Camden Mayor Milton Milan is convicted of a wide range of acts of corruption, including taking payoffs from the mob, using city contractors to do free work on his home, laundering money from a drug dealer, using vehicles supplied for free by a towing contractor, using campaign money for a trip to Puerto Rico and selling a stolen computer. He served nearly six years in prison.

2002: With just five weeks to go before Election Day, Sen. Robert Torricelli, a Democrat, quits his re-election effort in light of an admonishment from the Senate's ethics committee, which investigated allegations that he had accepted gifts from a campaign contributor. He has not been charged with any crimes.

2004: Gov. Jim McGreevey announces that he is a "gay American," had had an affair with a male staff member and would be resigning from office. He was not charged with any crimes.

2008: Former Newark Mayor Sharpe James, a Democrat who also served in the state Senate, is convicted of steering a city land deal to a woman who was his girlfriend at the time. He served 18 months in federal prison. The same year, state Sen. Wayne Bryant is convicted in a separate corruption trial of taking "low-show" public jobs to pad his government pension.

2009: In the case known as "Bid Rig," the biggest single corruption case in state history, 46 political, business and religious leaders are arrested. Ultimately, 34 of them plead guilty, four are convicted by jurors, two are found not guilty and one dies before trial.

2014: Federal authorities announce they are investigating whether any laws were broken in lane closures near the George Washington Bridge. An aide to Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican, emailed a Port Authority of New York and New Jersey official before they began, "Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee." A lawyer for Christie and a report from state lawmakers did not find any wrongdoing by Christie. It's not clear when the criminal investigation will be complete.

2014: U.S. Rep. Rob Andrews, under investigated by the House Ethics Committee for using campaign money for a series of trips, resigns to take a job with a law firm. He has not been charged with any crimes.

2014: Trenton Mayor Tony Mack is convicted of accepting bribes in a phony land deal. He is serving a nearly five-year sentence in federal prison.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.


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