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Re: L. Harvey Smith's - federal corruption charges - NOT GUILTY
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Jury acquits second consecutive official in massive N.J. corruption investigation

Friday, December 17, 2010, 8:08 AM
By MaryAnn Spoto/The Star-Ledger

JERSEY CITY ? In the second serious setback for federal prosecutors in as many trials, former Democratic Assemblyman L. Harvey Smith was acquitted yesterday of taking $15,000 in bribes from an undercover informant posing as a corrupt developer.

The verdict came after Solomon Dwek ? who was the key witness at the center of last year?s massive corruption and money laundering sting ? was kept off the stand.

Instead, federal prosecutors confronted Smith, who maintained his innocence, with hidden surveillance video during the trial. The video showed money being exchanged through an intermediary, who the defense attacked as a liar set out to destroy the Hudson County lawmaker?s reputation.

??It?s easy to lose your reputation when you?re accused of something like this and it?s hard to get it back,?? a visibly relieved Smith said outside the federal courtroom in Newark. ??I never expected my life would be in this position at this time, in this age.??

When the jury foreman reached the last of the six not-guilty verdicts minutes earlier, Smith?s wife Gail stood up and shouted, ??Praise the Lord.?? Her 6-foot-5 husband slumped over the defense table and wept, his face buried in his arms.

While Dwek was on all the undercover surveillance videos, he was not in the courtroom. Instead, Edward Cheatam, a former Jersey City housing authority commissioner and board of education member who first introduced Dwek to Smith, was brought out as the key witness.

In his closing arguments, defense attorney Peter Willis noted how Cheatam seemed unconvincing and frequently unsure of himself on the witness stand.

Some defense attorneys argued Dwek himself was a flawed witness, leading to the acquittal in October of Ridgefield Mayor Anthony Suarez . That verdict broke a decade long string of convictions against political figures, large and small, which had some convinced that it was impossible to beat a political corruption case in New Jersey

Cheatam told jurors he acted as an intermediary in delivering $10,000 to Smith in the parking lot of the Malibu Diner in Hoboken on July 17, 2009. He also testified he converted a $5,000 cash payment on April 30, 2009, from Dwek to Smith into money orders and checks which he delivered to Smith?s home.

At one point on the videotapes, Smith told a rambling Dwek to stop talking and wondered aloud if he should pat him down.

On the witness stand, Smith insisted the $5,000 was a contribution for what turned out to be an unsuccessful bid for Jersey City mayor. He said he kept the $10,000 in the basement of his Jersey City home while he went on vacation to Virginia with his wife because he didn?t want the money but he didn?t know what to do with it. He was arrested six days after getting that second payment.

Prosecutors argued Smith, 61, knew he was getting paid for making phone calls to state officials to expedite transportation, zoning and environmental permits. In one meeting on the videotape, Smith joked about the $5,000 payment not being enough.

U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman said the verdict was ??disappointing.??
??We had every confidence in the strength of the evidence but, as always, we respect the jury?s verdict,?? he said in a prepared statement. ??The loss of an individual case is clearly disappointing, but we are undeterred in our mission to root out those who use official positions to betray the trust of the people of New Jersey."

But Willis said his client was the victim of unreliable informants who were overeager to please federal investigators to the point of forcing the money on Smith even after the lawmaker said he does not accept cash for favors.

??The jury accepted Harvey?s history of honesty, dedication and public service and I really believe that that is what led to their verdict,?? Willis said. ??They were willing, based on his reputation, to give him the benefit of the doubt.??
The U.S. Attorney?s Office was on a 10-year streak of convictions in public corruption cases until last month when Suarez was found not guilty of taking a $10,000 bribe from Dwek through middleman Vincent Tabbachino.
Tabbachino, a former Guttenberg councilman, was convicted at that same trial.

Of those arrested with Smith, 24 have pleaded guilty. The U.S. Attorney?s Office dropped charges last month against Richard Greene, Smith?s spiritual advisor who was initially accused of being the middleman between Dwek and Smith. Those convicted at trial were Tabbachino, former state Assemblyman Daniel Van Pelt and former Jersey City Deputy Mayor Leona Beldini.

Posted on: 2010/12/18 0:50
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Re: L. Harvey Smith's - federal corruption charges - NOT GUILTY
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****************
Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise was also pleased to see Smith, a longtime friend, judged not guilty.

"I'm happy for Harvey," DeGise said. "We're old friends back to our school teaching days. I'm happy for him and his wife. The overwhelming odds of these things are never good, so I can't say I expected it, but after batting 1000 the government has lost its last two."


****************
"We are very happy for Harvey Smith, his family and his defense attorney Peter Willis," said Mayor Healy. "We agree with the jury's verdict based on the daily reports in the newspaper."

Posted on: 2010/12/17 14:48
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Re: L. Harvey Smith's - federal corruption charges - NOT GUILTY
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Celebrating at Casa Dante with Planning Director Robert Cotter immediately after the verdict.

Resized Image

Posted on: 2010/12/17 14:21
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Re: L. Harvey Smith - NOT GUILTY
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Quote:

FGJCNJ1970 wrote:
Not surprised here.... Now I wanna know how I can get on this gravy train. I need a 2nd and 3rd salary with lots of brown envelopes of Ben Franklin's.

All I know is if Vega gets off its all over for this city.

Can the Feds come back and finally KO Healy?

FG


Vega plead guilty...

The problems with the trial were Cheatham and Dwek... one $cumbag going after another $cumbag who works for a $cumbag and so on...

... hundreds of these bottom feeders run this city and are inserted into lifelong jobs at all levels of government, enforcement, and oversight.

I love this town, but my God I hate the HCDO.

Posted on: 2010/12/17 4:15
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Re: L. Harvey Smith - NOT GUILTY
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Not surprised here.... Now I wanna know how I can get on this gravy train. I need a 2nd and 3rd salary with lots of brown envelopes of Ben Franklin's.

All I know is if Vega gets off its all over for this city.

Can the Feds come back and finally KO Healy?

FG

Posted on: 2010/12/17 4:03
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Re: L. Harvey Smith - NOT GUILTY
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Anyone read the Times story today about the 30 year old vigilante killing of a local scumbag in Missouri. The courts kept letting him out, 2 locals shot him in front of dozens of witnesses, and "no one saw a thing". And no one ever has 30 years later. I guess one moral is people will only take so lack of effective justice. Another is don't piss off people with guns.

Posted on: 2010/12/17 3:47
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Re: L. Harvey Smith - NOT GUILTY
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He wasn't convicted but he's obviously Guilty. POS.

Posted on: 2010/12/17 3:14
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Re: L. Harvey Smith - NOT GUILTY
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I guess a defense of "i tried to give the money back" was successful. Fact remains that Smith is an arrogant HCDO pol who has been feeding at the public trough for years. He dodged a bullet this time. Hopefully the HCDO hacks don't give him another job.

Posted on: 2010/12/17 2:37
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Re: L. Harvey Smith - NOT GUILTY
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Most arguments you hear from those in the field are, "hey, what we are doing isn't "illegal" so what is the problem? If you would work hard like us you would make the kind of money we make too.." I always love that one.. As far as Smith? it isnt that he isnt guilty. He was acquitted. Never forget when he got his friends at the SCC to force an eminent domain on the lot that Stop and shop bought in the heights for 6.4 million and would have paid for a new police station, 300k in tax revenue and 220 jobs.. and the lot still sits vacant... Another fine JC politic example..

Posted on: 2010/12/17 1:35
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Re: L. Harvey Smith - NOT GUILTY
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Combine this with what's going on down on Wall street and in DC, and one has to conclude that corruption and white collar crime is so much a part of our government and economy, and so virtually unpunishable if you exercise even the slightest caution, that you might as let people major in it at college.

The only reason Madoff's in jail is that he ran completely off the rails. No indictments at Goldman Sachs. Even guys as dirty as Tom DeLay and Ted Stevens avoid punishment. So depressing...

Posted on: 2010/12/16 23:57
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Re: L. Harvey Smith - NOT GUILTY
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Politicos take note. Never accept the cash in hand. Have them throw it into your back seat.

Posted on: 2010/12/16 23:45
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L. Harvey Smith - NOT GUILTY
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From NJ.com

Former state Assemblyman L. Harvey Smith was acquitted today of accepting $15,000 in bribes that he insisted were campaign contributions.

The not-guilty verdict is the second consecutive trial defeat for the U.S. Attorney?s Office since Ridgefield Mayor Anthony Suarez was acquitted of all charges in October. Until that acquittal, federal prosecutors had a 10-year streak of corruption convictions.

Smith, 61, was accused of accepting two cash payments in 2009 from disgraced developer Solomon Dwek, who was secretly working with federal investigators and posing as developer David Esenbach.

During his three-week trial before U.S. District Judge Jose Linares in Newark, Smith insisted the cash was campaign contributions, initially for what turned out to be an unsuccessful bid for mayor of Jersey City. A one-term assemblyman, Smith had announced before his arrest that he did not plan to seek re-election.

The Hudson County Democrat was charged with conspiracy to commit extortion, money laundering, two counts of attempted extortion and two counts of bribery.

Smith?s attorney, Peter Willis, had argued his client was set up and that federal investigators pursued him even after he told Dwek he doesn?t take money in return for favors.

This was the first trial in which Dwek, who secretly worked for federal investigators for two years, did not testify. Instead, prosecutors called as their key witness Edward Cheatam, a friend of Smith?s and a former Jersey City housing official and school board member who took bribes from Dwek and introduced the developer to Smith. Dwek videotaped conversations and meetings with dozens of political officials and religious leaders who were arrested as part of the state?s largest public corruption sting that netted 46 people.



http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2010 ... yman_harvey_smith_is.html" rel="noopener external" title="">Story Continues Here...NJ.com

Posted on: 2010/12/16 22:59
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Re: L. Harvey Smith's defense against federal corruption charges.
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Former Jersey City assemblyman reenacts alleged bribe handoff
Updated: Friday, December 10, 2010, 1:31 PM
Melissa Hayes/The Jersey Journal

Standing before the jury in the middle of the courtroom, former Jersey City Assemblyman L. Harvey Smith held a folded Fed-Ex envelope in his hands.
He then, with his left hand, flicked it.

The reenactment was meant to demonstrate how Smith?s one-time deputy mayor Edward Cheatam, leaned in the passenger window of Smith?s car and delivered a similar envelope containing $10,000 in cash outside the Malibu Diner in Hoboken on July 17, 2009.

Smith testified this morning that he didn?t know what was in the envelope and wasn?t expecting anything from Cheatam that day.

The government alleges that Cheatam served as a middle man, delivering a bribe for purported developer David Esenbach, the name used by federal informant Solomon Dwek.

In total, Smith is accused of accepting $15,000 from Dwek in exchange for his official influence. Smith is also charged with one count of money laundering for allegedly having Cheatam convert the first $5,000 in cash into a check and money orders made out to his 2009 Jersey City mayoral campaign.

Smith testified today that the envelope Cheatam threw landed in his backseat. Cheatam testified earlier in the trial that he handed the payment to Smith.

After the exchange, Dwek approaches Smith?s car window.
?Harvey I don?t want you to call me a cheap skunk anymore,? Dwek says.
Smith responds, ?Dave, it?s not about that, it?s just about ?? then Dwek cuts him off and adds, ?I want you to be happy!?
Finishing his sentence Smith responds, ?It?s just about the fact that, I?m a straight guy.?
After walking away from Smith?s car, Dwek tells Cheatam he doesn?t see the envelope in the car.
?Where?d he hide the money so fast,? Dwek asks.
Cheatam tells Dwek that Smith ?put it away real fast.?
Smith testified that Dwek didn?t see the envelope because Cheatam had thrown it in the back seat.

He said as he was driving away he was concerned about Dwek?s ?cheap skunk? comment and didn?t know what he meant.
Smith said he didn?t even plan to be at the meeting that day. He had met with Cheatam and Dwek the day before and said he didn?t plan on meeting them again.

But he attended after Cheatam called him multiple times.
?I was a little annoyed,? Smith said of the phone calls.
He said he drove to the Malibu Diner in Hoboken expecting to find Cheatam, but when he walked in Dwek and Jersey City political consultant Jack Shaw, who is now deceased, were also there.
Smith sat down at the table and didn?t eat anything, but he does tell Dwek he had made some calls about his proposed projects in Jersey City and Bayonne.

Smith admitted in court that he told Dwek that if his ?clout? as a state assemblyman isn?t enough he can make a call in the future.
Smith testified that he misused the word ?clout? and meant that he expected to get information from the state departments because of his position. He said he wasn?t trying to do anything illegal or inappropriate just check on the status of both developments.

Posted on: 2010/12/10 19:25
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Re: L. Harvey Smith's defense against federal corruption charges.
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Former Jersey City assemblyman's federal corruption trial will hear testimony from many prominent officials

Wednesday, December 01, 2010
By MELISSA HAYES
JOURNAL STAFF WRITER

NEWARK - No, Solomon Dwek won't be testifying at the corruption trial of former Jersey City assemblyman L. Harvey Smith, which is scheduled for opening arguments today in federal court.

But just because the government's ace informant is sitting this one out doesn't mean this trial won't have star power.

Several high-profile names appear on a potential witness list, including former New Jersey Department of Transportation Commissioner Stephen Dilts, former Department of Environmental Protection Agency Commissioner Mark Mauriello, and Patricia Leahey, from the state Department of Treasury's Management and Internal Audit Unit.

Evelyn Ford, the compliance director for the state Election Law Enforcement Commission, is also on the list.

Smith was running for mayor of Jersey City in 2009 when he allegedly accepted $15,000 in bribes from Dwek, who was pretending to be a developer, to help Dwek obtain environmental and other permits.

Deputy Assembly Speaker John Wisniewski, chairman of the state Democratic Party, is also listed. Wisniewski declined to comment yesterday about his involvement in the case.

Chairman of the Assembly Transportation, Public Works and Independent Authorities Committee, Wisniewski has previously said he was the unnamed "DOT official" referred to in the criminal complaint against Smith.

Dwek recorded a conversation during which Smith said he could not get Wisniewski's help with approvals for a project on Route 440 in Bayonne, according to the complaint. Smith was also a member of the transportation committee at the time.

There are also several local personalities on the list, including Smith's former aide Richard Greene, former Jersey City Housing Authority commissioner Edward Cheatam, and Maher Khalil, former deputy director of the Jersey City Department of Health and Human Services.

The government recently dropped all charges against Greene, who was accused of passing a $5,000 bribe from Dwek to Smith. Cheatam has pleaded guilty to accepting $70,000 in bribes from Dwek, and Khalil pleaded guilty to accepting $72,500 in bribes.

Jersey City Ward F Councilwoman Viola Richardson is on the list, as well as Jersey City Planning Director Bob Cotter.

Being on the list doesn't mean the potential witness will be called and could only be an indication that their name will be heard on tapes recorded by Dwek.

Operation Big Rig III, as last year's massive sting is known, has so far led to guilty pleas or convictions of 14 persons related to Hudson County, including former Jersey City Deputy Mayor Leona Beldini and former Hoboken Mayor Peter Cammarano.

Posted on: 2010/12/1 11:58
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Re: L. Harvey Smith's defense against federal corruption charges.
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Law is bizarre, how can someone be barred from using a defence? Surely one can say whatever one likes in one's defence, isn't that in the constitution somewhere?

Robin.

Posted on: 2010/11/17 20:58
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Re: L. Harvey Smith's defense against federal corruption charges.
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Former assemblyman L. Harvey Smith of Jersey City is barred by judge from using entrapment defense at his corruption trial

Wednesday, November 17, 2010
By TED SHERMAN
THE STAR-LEDGER

Entrapment will be no defense for former assemblyman L. Harvey Smith.

U.S. District Judge Jose L. Linares ruled yesterday that Smith will not be allowed to claim he was lured by the FBI into last year's sweeping federal corruption sting, rejecting a request to hold evidentiary hearings into the matter.

Smith, 61, a Hudson County Democrat, was arrested last year as part of the wide-ranging federal sting into money laundering and political corruption that led to charges against 46 people - including dozens of elected and public officials, five rabbis and several candidates running for office.

At the center of it all was a cooperating witness, Solomon Dwek - charged in an unrelated $50 million bank fraud - who played the role of a corrupt developer willing to hand out illicit payoffs and illegal campaign contributions in the long-running FBI sting.

Twenty defendants have already pleaded guilty and three others have been convicted at trial. Only one has beaten the charges. Last month, a jury found Ridgefield Mayor Anthony R. Suarez not guilty - the first public official in New Jersey to be acquitted in a federal corruption case in 10 years.

Smith, who goes to trial at the end of the month, was accused of accepting $15,000 in bribes from Dwek when he was running for mayor of Jersey City in 2009.

He is the only figure charged in the high-profile case so far to claim entrapment, a difficult argument to mount in federal court and a defense that is rarely used and seldom succeeds.

Smith's attorney, Peter Willis of Jersey City, claimed the government used former Jersey City Housing Authority Commissioner Edward Cheatam, political consultant Jack Shaw, and Smith's former aide, Richard Greene, to entice Smith to accept $15,000 in alleged bribes.

Dwek, the complaint charged, walked out of one meeting with Smith, then took an envelope containing $10,000 in cash out of the trunk of his car. "Okay," Smith said as he walked to his own car.

Prosecutors say Dwek gave the money to Cheatam, who had facilitated the meeting. Cheatam took it to Smith, returning without the envelope.

According to transcripts of surveillance video from a hidden camera worn by Dwek, the informant himself then walked over to the legislator's Ford Flex. "Harvey, I don't want you to call me a cheap skunk anymore," he said.

"Hey, it's not about that," Smith replied, according to the transcripts. "It's just about, it's just about the fact that I'm a straight guy."

Greene has been charged, but not yet indicted. Shaw died within days of his arrest. Cheatam has already pleaded guilty in the case.

Willis argued it was Shaw and Cheatam who drew Smith into the scheme.

In his ruling yesterday, Linares said entrapment can be argued only when the government's deception "actually implants the criminal design in the mind of the defendant." The judge said neither Cheatam nor Shaw, who arranged the meetings with Smith, were acting as agents of the government.

An attorney for Smith did not return calls seeking response.

Posted on: 2010/11/17 16:28
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Re: L. Harvey Smith's defense against federal corruption charges.
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Harvey Quote--It's a lynching if they're a minority. White guys be all guilty.

I say they all deserve to spend some solitude on our dollar behind bars-guarantee sharpton comes out for only a special few. Scumbags, one and all.

Posted on: 2010/10/31 23:32
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Re: L. Harvey Smith spent all his defense money; federal program will pay his $135-an-hour lawyer
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Charon wrote:
Yes, Harvey was entrapped like the other 23 who plead guilty or were convicted. He should have cut a deal while he could.

And if does get out free due to entrapment then all the others will be set free as well. Also by stating the use of entrapment little Harvey is already admiting guilt.

Posted on: 2010/10/31 22:44
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Re: L. Harvey Smith spent all his defense money; federal program will pay his $135-an-hour lawyer
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Yes, Harvey was entrapped like the other 23 who plead guilty or were convicted. He should have cut a deal while he could.

Posted on: 2010/10/31 21:18
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Re: L. Harvey Smith spent all his defense money; federal program will pay his $135-an-hour lawyer
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Isn't an entrapment defense essentially an admission of guilt?

Posted on: 2010/10/31 16:11
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Re: L. Harvey Smith spent all his defense money; federal program will pay his $135-an-hour lawyer
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No surprise with this whole debacle.

The fall guys fell.

Posted on: 2010/10/31 2:22
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Re: L. Harvey Smith spent all his defense money; federal program will pay his $135-an-hour lawyer
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Smith to use entrapment defense

Saturday, October 30, 2010

NEWARK - Former Assemblyman L. Harvey Smith, who was arrested in last year's federal corruption sting, plans to seek an entrapment defense.

In a court filing yesterday, an attorney for Smith notified a federal judge he will argue that a government informant's dealings with Smith warrant an entrapment instruction to the jury in Smith's upcoming trial.

Jury selection is scheduled for Nov. 29. Attorneys will make oral arguments on Monday.

Smith, a Jersey City Democrat, faces extortion, bribery and money laundering counts.

Nearly half of the 46 people arrested last year have pleaded guilty or been convicted at trial. This week, Ridgefield Mayor Anthony Suarez became the first to be acquitted.

None of the three defendants to go to trial used an entrapment defense.

Posted on: 2010/10/30 15:42
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L. Harvey Smith spent all his defense money; federal program will pay his $135-an-hour lawyer
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Former assemblyman L. Harvey Smith has spent all his defense money before trial begins in November; federal program will pay his $135-an-hour lawyer

Wednesday, September 22, 2010
By MELISSA HAYES
JOURNAL STAFF WRITER

The public will pick up the tab for former assemblyman L. Harvey Smith's defense against federal corruption charges.

U.S. District Judge Jose L. Linares signed an application Monday that allows Smith to have his lawyer, private investigators and expert witnesses paid for through a federal program for financially stricken defendants.

Smith's attorney, Peter Willis, who will stay on as his public defender, said Smith took out a loan on his home but could no longer afford to pay for his defense. Willis said state officials suspended Smith's pension pending the outcome of his trial.

Smith, a former member of the Jersey City City Council, is a former Jersey City public schools employee and a former Hudson County undersheriff.

Willis, who will now be paid $135 per hour as Smith's court-appointed attorney, declined to say how much Smith has spent on his defense.

"He went through a substantial amount of his private money until it was exhausted," Willis said. "This is just a last desperate attempt to kind of equalize ourselves with the government."

Willis said another benefit to Linares signing Smith's application is Smith will receive daily transcripts of the court proceedings in his case. Willis said normally that would cost thousands of dollars.

Smith, who resigned from his post as undersheriff when he was running for mayor of Jersey City last year, also served in the state Senate. He did not seek re-election to his Assembly seat last year.

Smith is among the 46 people charged in Operation Bid Rig last year, a sweeping political corruption and international money laundering sting. He is accused of accepting $15,000 in bribes from a federal informant.

Smith has pleaded not guilty to the charges and his trial is set to begin Nov. 29.

Posted on: 2010/9/24 16:02
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Re: L. Harvey Smith to Resign
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Quote:

ShelleySkinner wrote:
The Assemblyman's decision to dig in like Council President Vega is disappointing. Their self serving attitude to put themselves before their constiuents, and the well being of the city, is almost as big of an indicator of their character as the envelopes of cash.

Shelley Skinner


It matters not Shelley, whether today or tomorrow, they will fall and all the more harder for their stubborness and denial.

Posted on: 2009/8/7 23:06
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Re: L. Harvey Smith to Resign
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The Assemblyman's decision to dig in like Council President Vega is disappointing. Their self serving attitude to put themselves before their constiuents, and the well being of the city, is almost as big of an indicator of their character as the envelopes of cash.

Shelley Skinner

Posted on: 2009/8/7 22:00
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Re: L. Harvey Smith to Resign
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Smith has asked that his salary be donated to the Sickle Cell Anemia Foundation.


Not that it isn't a very worthy cause, but if they already suspended his pay, how can he have any say where the money goes? Just a stunt to make him seem like a nice guy. Too late.

Posted on: 2009/8/7 15:05
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Re: L. Harvey Smith to Resign
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SMITH IS NOT GOING TO RESIGN! He told me that from his own mouth yesterday!!!

Posted on: 2009/8/7 12:09
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Re: L. Harvey Smith to Resign
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icechute wrote:
Must have got permission from Corzine.


N.J. assemblyman arrested in sting won't resign

Fri, Aug. 7, 2009

TRENTON - A New Jersey assemblyman who was among 44 people snared in a recent federal corruption sting says he will not resign.

L. Harvey Smith, a Jersey City Democrat, said he is entitled to the presumption of innocence and will not bow to pressure from the governor, the Assembly speaker, and others to step down.

Speaker Joseph Roberts Jr. (D., Camden) called Smith's decision disappointing. Roberts has stripped Smith of his legislative salary and benefits.

Smith was arrested on July 23 and is accused of taking $15,000 in bribes from a federal informant to help win building approvals from state officials. One assemblyman and two mayors arrested in the sweep have resigned; another mayor and a city council president have not. - AP

===================

SMITH WON'T QUIT
Barred from pay, benefits, but hanging tight
Friday, August 07, 2009
By KEN THORBOURNE
JOURNAL STAFF WRITER

Assemblyman L. Harvey Smith of Jersey City, arrested on corruption charges two weeks ago, has decided not to resign his legislative post.

In a letter sent to Assembly Speaker Joseph Roberts yesterday, Smith, 60, said he came to the decision after discussing options with "family, friends, religious, and legal advisers."

Gov. Jon Corzine had called for all six elected officials arrested in the July 23 sweep to resign and Roberts had stepped up the pressure by suspending the salary and benefits for Smith and two other Assembly members facing corruption charges.

"I am guaranteed under the constitutions of the United States and the State of New Jersey with a presumption of innocence in the criminal proceedings against me," Smith said in his letter to Roberts. "I believe that the resignation of my position as assemblyman is inconsistent with the presumption of innocence."

In a statement, Roberts called Smith's decision "disappointing."

"The right to the presumption of innocence is a hallmark of our democracy, but serving in the Legislature is a privilege, not a right, and any member charged with criminal activity is incapable of effectively representing their constituents," Roberts said.

"My decision to suspend Assemblyman Smith's pay and benefits stands. This money belongs to the taxpayers," he added.

Corzine's office didn't return phone calls for comment last night.

A former council president and undersheriff, Smith was arrested as part of a massive corruption sweep that included nearly two dozen employees and officials in Hudson County.

Smith is charged with accepting $15,000 in bribes from a government informant posing as a developer seeking to obtain state approvals for a proposed project on Garfield Avenue. Smith's Assembly term ends in December.

The assemblyman decided not to challenge Roberts' suspension of his pay and benefits because the "time, energy, and legal costs" would distract from the federal case Smith now confronts, said Peter Willis, Smith's Jersey City-based lawyer.

Smith has asked that his salary be donated to the Sickle Cell Anemia Foundation.

Four elected officials in Hudson County were arrested in the FBI sting. Two of them - former mayors Peter Cammarano of Hoboken and Dennis Elwell of Secaucus - have resigned. Jersey City City Council President Mariano Vega Jr., who was also arrested July 23, is refusing to relinquish his post.

Posted on: 2009/8/7 8:52
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Re: L. Harvey Smith to Resign
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i never did trust this guy. I hope he stays away from Jersey City politics and/or ALL New Jersey politics for good.

a lowlife will always be a lowlife.

Posted on: 2009/8/6 22:59
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Re: L. Harvey Smith to Resign
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At least his arrest and impending incarceration has wiped that $h*teat*ng grin off his face. They're gonna love at Allenwood.

Posted on: 2009/8/6 22:44
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