Thursday, August 03, 2006

Farber - Courier - Willing to appear before Judicial Committee

Published in the Courier News, Thursday, August 3, 2006

Farber willing to appear before Senate panel

Gannett State Bureau

Attorney general says she would meet with Judicial Committee over traffic stop incident.

HAMILTON -- Attorney General Zulima Farber said Wednesday she would testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on why she rushed to a traffic stop where her boyfriend received light treatment, but her boss, Gov. Jon S. Corzine, said that was not necessary.

"There is no need for any other action," Corzine told reporters, noting Farber's behavior on that Friday morning of Memorial Day weekend was being probed by a retired jurist appointed by Corzine -- former Appellate Judge Richard Williams of Atlantic County.

Seconds earlier, Farber had been asked by a reporter whether she would testify before the Judiciary Committee. "I will appear before the Judiciary Committee," Farber replied. "I will appear before any committee of the Legislature."

Corzine's staff was asked why he said nothing more was necessary beyond the Williams report, but it did not immediately respond.

Jim Manion, spokesman for Senate Democrats, said the chairman of the committee, Sen. John Adler, D-Camden, said he would hold hearings after completion of the probe by Williams. Manion further quoted Adler as saying he expected Farber to participate.

"There is a credibility and a confidence problem that is going to persist," said Sen. Joseph Kyrillos, R-Middletown, a member of the Judiciary Committee. "We should have her at the committee."

Sen. Gerald Cardinale, R-Demarest, also a member of the Judiciary Committee, restated that Farber should resign, saying she got "softball" treatment in a recent interview on the state-run NJN TV network.

"She should be asking to come in and talk to the committee. She would not get such a softball," Cardinale said. "This is not a criminal investigation, where a prosecutor has to wrap everything up. This is a function of her as a state employee, her use of state property, her use of state time. These are legitimate questions."

Another member of the committee, Sen. Bob Smith, D-Piscataway, agreed with Adler. "The fairest way to deal with the problem is to get the report of the independent prosecutor, sooner better than later," Smith said.

Farber drew fire for rushing to the traffic stop, 13 miles from Newark to Fairview in Bergen County, where her boyfriend, Hamlet Goore, had been pulled over in an unregistered minivan.

Police had planned to impound the van but rejected the idea after Farber and Fairview's mayor arrived, Farber in her trooper-driven state car. Police allowed Goore to drive home, a move Farber said did not influence because of her presence.

As the state's top law enforcement officer, she is the ultimate superior of all police officers in New Jersey. Farber has apologized, saying she never intended for her presence to influence the local police.

It is not known when Williams will have his report finished.

Farber and Corzine faced reporters at a state police center, where they unveiled plans to expand the "Cease Fire" program of intense policing.

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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.