SEPTEMBER 09, 2008
The upcoming public corruption trial of a prominent New Jersey lawmaker who simultaneously collected salaries from four public jobs will feature a lengthy bipartisan witness list of political heavy hitters said to be embroiled in the scandal.
Dozens of high-profile New Jersey politicians are expected to take the stand in the fraud, bribery and corruption trial of former state Senator Wayne Bryant. The Democrat legislator is accused of coercing officials at a public university into giving him a high-paying bogus job in exchange for getting the school $12 million while he headed the powerful Senate Budget Committee.
Prosecutors say Bryant combined that fake hospital job with at least two other bogus, taxpayer-financed positions—at the Gloucester County Board of Social Services and a separate public research university—to fraudulently triple his taxpayer-funded pension.
Ironically, Bryant promoted himself as an advocate for the poor when he became New Jersey’s highest ranking black lawmaker while serving in the Assembly in the early 1990s. When Bryant was elected to the state Senate, he became a member of the powerful budget committee and immediately abused his leverage to grant several lucrative state contracts to his relatives and his own law firm.
Now the dethroned advocate for the poor faces a lengthy prison sentence. His trial will feature a who’s who of New Jersey politicians, including dozens of current and past legislators, the state treasurer, former attorney general and several cabinet members. They include Democrat Senator Stephen Sweeney, former Republican Assembly Speaker Jack Collins, current Assembly Speaker Joseph Roberts, a Democrat, and Senate President Richard Codey, also a Democrat.
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