Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Farber - Record - AG hires attorney Gerald Krovatin

Published in the Bergen Record, Tuesday, July 18, 2006

High-profile lawyer hired by Farber for probe of traffic stop


State Attorney General Zulima Farber has hired a high-powered criminal attorney to represent her during a probe into whether she intervened at a Fairview traffic stop involving her boyfriend, two sources said.

Attorney Gerald Krovatin represented Gary Taffet, former Gov. James E. McGreevey's chief of staff, during a federal investigation into whether Taffet and another onetime McGreevey aide improperly used political connections to bring business to their billboard firm. No charges were brought.

Krovatin, 53, who practices in Newark and specializes in white-collar crime and criminal defense work, also represented the Democratic Party when it alleged that the GOP had used "street money" to suppress urban voting. The claims were determined to be unfounded boasting by Ed Rollins, former Gov. Christie Whitman's campaign consultant.

A special prosecutor is examining the circumstances surrounding Farber's appearance at a seat-belt enforcement checkpoint where police were impounding her boyfriend's car. After she arrived, the officers canceled the tow call and tried to void traffic tickets they had issued to him.

Retired Judge Richard J. Williams has hired two investigators and two attorneys -- all funded by taxpayers -- to probe whether Farber or Fairview officers broke any laws or policies or committed any ethical violations.

Krovatin declined to comment Monday.

Farber's spokesman, David Wald, has said the attorney general feels it would be improper to comment while the probe is continuing. In an interview last month, however, Farber flatly denied trying to influence officers who had stopped Hamlet E. Goore Jr., her live-in boyfriend, on May 26.

News of Krovatin's involvement comes at a time when a growing number of ranking Democratic legislators are expressing unease with the Farber situation.

Most senior among them is state Sen. Richard Codey, D-Essex, the former governor, who says Farber made a substantial error.

"It was a mistake in judgment," said Codey, the Senate president. "If I had been her, I would have told them to give him the tickets."

The incident has become a politically explosive issue since it was first reported by The Record last month. Some Republicans have demanded Farber's resignation, and a few have introduced articles of impeachment in the state Legislature.

Privately, some Democrats have said they were disturbed by reports that Farber had telephoned legislators to ask them to keep an open mind as the probe unfolds.

Among those who are commenting publicly, state Sen. Nicholas Scutari, D-Union, said he is "leaning toward" joining Republicans in calling for Farber's appearance at a special public hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Scutari said he is also concerned that the special prosecutor's investigation will cost taxpayers millions.

"She was there in a state vehicle with a trooper and on state time -- not even getting to the point of whether she exercised improper influence," said Scutari, the vice chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. "The fact that she was there was troubling to begin with. I think we're entitled to know what went on."

Another Senate Judiciary Committee member, Paul Sarlo, D-Wood-Ridge, said he, too, has already reached some conclusions about Farber's actions.

"I think better judgment could have been used, and she should not have showed up at the scene," said Sarlo.

Link to online story.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. Plainfield Today, Plainfield Stuff and Clippings have no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of these articles nor are Plainfield Today, Plainfield Stuff or Clippings endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

Blog Archive

About Me

Plainfield resident since 1983. Retired as the city's Public Information Officer in 2006; prior to that Community Programs Coordinator for the Plainfield Public Library. Founding member and past president of: Faith, Bricks & Mortar; Residents Supporting Victorian Plainfield; and PCO (the outreach nonprofit of Grace Episcopal Church). Supporter of the Library, Symphony and Historic Society as well as other community groups, and active in Democratic politics.