Thursday, August 03, 2006

Farber - Ledger - Corzine stifles questioning on Farber

Published in the Star-Ledger, Thursday, August 3, 2006

Corzine stifles questioning on Farber

Star-Ledger Staff

State Attorney General Zulima Farber said yesterday she is willing to appear before the state Senate Judiciary Committee concerning her role in a traffic stop involving her boyfriend.

"I have answered every question put to me about the incident," Farber said at an anti-gang summit she was attending with Gov. Jon Corzine in Hamilton. "I will appear before the Judiciary Committee any time I am summoned or any other committee. I have said that."

Corzine, standing beside Farber, then stepped in.

"I just want to end this," said Corzine, his voice rising. "(Retired state Appellate Court Judge Richard Williams) is going to come up with an expeditious report and there is no need, in my view, for any further actions until that comes out. We have an independent individual of the highest integrity, no politics involved, doing an investigation. When that comes out, we will make our judgments and speak to people directly about it."

Corzine's chief counsel, Stuart Rabner, appointed Williams to do an independent investigation of the May 26 incident involving Farber and her live-in boyfriend Hamlet Goore to determine if the attorney general broke any laws or violated ethics rules.

Goore was stopped by a Fairview police officer at a seatbelt checkpoint and was found to be driving an unregistered van. He also had a suspended license. Police were about to impound the van when Farber arrived in her state car with a state trooper at the wheel. The officer initially issued two summonses to Goore, but later acted to have them voided. Goore was allowed to drive the vehicle five blocks to his home, with Farber trailing behind in her car.

When reporters attempted to ask additional questions, the governor said, "You can ask all the questions you want in all the different ways you want. We are going to wait until we get the expeditious report."

Sen. John Adler (D-Camden), who chairs the Judiciary Committee, said no hearings would be held until Williams completes his investigation.

Five of the 10 other committee members, Sens. Gerald Cardinale (R-Bergen), Joseph Kyrillos (R-Monmouth), Robert Martin (R-Morris), Paul Sarlo (D-Bergen) and Nicholas Scutari (D-Union), have said they would like to see Farber interviewed by the panel. Sen. Tom Kean (R-Union) also has called for it.

"We are talking about the use of state time, the use of state property for a personal reason," Cardinale said. "That, I believe, is a legitimate legislative inquiry. If someone is using state resources for personal use, we need to know about that."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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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.