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July 14, 2004

Top Democratic Donor Hit With Whore-Blackmail Charges

New Jersey maintains its reputation as the Louisiana of the Northeastern Corridor.

Governor Jim McGreevey's top donor, under investigation for corruption, now employs a $10,000 whore to entrap government witnesses so that he can blackmail them against testifying.

It is unclear at this point if the whore in question has a blog.

There's just too much in these two articles to excerpt. Here's some of the best bits, starting with the second article:

NEWARK, July 13 - Gov. James E. McGreevey's top contributor was charged on Tuesday in a bizarre scheme to enlist prostitutes in an effort to silence potential witnesses in a federal investigation of possible illegal campaign contributions.

...Charles Kushner, a New Jersey landowner and businessman with close ties to many religious and political figures, was charged with hiring prostitutes to entice his brother-in-law and his accountant into sexually compromising situations.

The complaint says that the accountant did not take the bait, but that the brother-in-law did. The result, prosecutors said, was a sexual encounter between the brother-in-law and a high-priced New York call girl in a Bridgewater motel room last December that was recorded by a hidden camera.

...

The governor, a Democrat, is still reeling from the fallout from a federal indictment last week involving another campaign contributor and a top fund-raiser, and has been plagued by a long list of scandals involving people close to him. This week there is growing pressure for his commerce secretary, William J. Watley, to step down after a state criminal investigation into possible improprieties by a top aide.

Mr. McGreevey has had a close relationship with Mr. Kushner, who has been the largest contributor to his campaigns over the years, donating $1.5 million for his 1997 and 2001 campaigns, the first one unsuccessful, for governor.

...

Mr. McGreevey is still trying to explain how he came to use the word "Machiavelli" in a conversation with a fund-raiser and contributor - a fact revealed last week in an indictment of the fund-raiser.

The fund-raiser, David D'Amiano, said the word was a designated code that would signal the governor's complicity in a deal to assist the contributor in a land dispute in return for $40,000 in campaign funds. Mr. McGreevey insists the use of the word was entirely innocent.

Keep that "Machiavelli" codeword in mind.

By the way, here's a tip, assholes: When you're coming up with codewords for corrupt dealings, avoid words like Machiavelli.

Should Mr. Kushner go to trial and be convicted, he faces up to 10 years each on the charges of retaliating against a witness and attempting to obstruct another, and five years on charges of promoting interstate prostitution.

Okay, now for the first article linked. Some of this is a little repetitive:

TRENTON, July 13 - Last week, when federal prosecutors disclosed that Gov. James E. McGreevey was secretly taped discussing a land deal with the target of a corruption investigation, New Jersey politics was consumed with speculation about whether the governor might be involved in any wrongdoing.

...

Mr. McGreevey was elected as a reformer, but his 30 months in office have been defined by a dizzying procession of ethical and criminal accusations against his fund-raisers, party operatives, staff members and cabinet members. No one has accused Mr. McGreevey himself of violating any laws or ethical codes. Indeed, the United States attorney, Christopher J. Christie went out of his way on Tuesday to say that the governor was not directly involved in the new charges, that his most generous campaign contributor, Charles Kushner, hired a prostitute to obstruct an inquiry into Democratic fund-raising. Mr. Kushner was indicted for obstruction of justice on Tuesday.

But Mr. Kushner, whom the governor tried to make chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, is so closely tied to Mr. McGreevey that his indictment is still a significant political setback for the administration. Mr. Kushner's prominence, and the seriousness of the charges against him, raise the possibility that he or other McGreevey aides who are under criminal investigation might cooperate with prosecutors and allow the scandals surrounding the administration to grow even more.

...

As recently as Monday afternoon, Mr. McGreevey's aides argued that the governor had regained his footing after being rattled by the damaging revelations that surfaced in last week's indictment of David D'Amiano, who is charged with soliciting campaign contributions by promising political favors to a man engaged in a land dispute. Although Mr. McGreevey was taped discussing the deal and saying the word "Machiavelli," which prosecutors say was a code word for the illicit scheme, the governor insisted his utterance was nothing more than an innocent literary allusion.

There's that word again: literary. Apparently American jurisprudence now recognizes the "literary" defense.

I think Bill Clinton originated it, actually, although we didn't have the neologism until now.

But Republicans are determined to remind voters of the many links between Mr. Kushner and the governor. Mr. Kushner and his companies donated more than $1.5 million to Mr. McGreevey and his campaign committees. He also had business dealings with Gary Taffet, Mr. McGreevey's former campaign manager and chief of staff, who is now the subject of a criminal investigation for allegedly using his office to inflate the value of a billboard company he owned.

...

The furor swirling around the governor's office is also likely to embolden those Democrats who have quietly been urging party leaders to ask Mr. McGreevey to step aside and let Senator Jon S. Corzine have the nomination in next year's governor's race. But the governor has said he has every intention of running again, and at this point, party leaders are not willing to challenge him.

The problem for Mr. McGreevey is that the various investigations involving his associates are likely to continue their periodic eruptions.

I think there must be a Right Wing Conspiracy forcing McGreevey and his cronies to take money for political favors.

Note to liberals: This is what a genuine political scandal looks like. Of course, no one outside of Trenton has heard of it, because it involves a Democrat.

We all heard about Governor Rawlings' ethical lapses in Connecticut-- and those lapses seem like small potatoes compared to this.

Rawlings, front-page news. McGreevey, buried. No one interested. Just like no one was interested in the corruption and subornation scandal involving "The Torch" Torricelli. Another Democrat, of course.

Dirty Money Gets Around Update: Kushner also a big contributor to Charles Schumer. His companies, friends, and family have donated $60,000 to Schumer over the years.

Chuck Schumer gallantly agreed to donate the last $4000 to charity. No mention on what's to happen to that other $56,000.

At least $2000 went to Hillary Clinton, too.


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posted by Ace at 08:49 PM

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