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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Prominent Attorney Pleads Guilty to Bribery and Conspiracy Cover-Up

In New Jersey, Ex-Prosecutor Pleads Guilty in Bribery Case
The New York Times by RICHARD PÉREZ-PEÑA - April 5, 2011

NEWARK, NJ — A fixture in legal and political circles, Clifford J. Minor has been a police officer, judge, prosecutor, defense lawyer and mayoral candidate. On Tuesday, he added an unflattering entry to his résumé: confessed felon. Mr. Minor admitted that he took a bribe, abetted a false confession and tried to cover his tracks by falsifying a document and lying to investigators — all part of a scheme to help a career criminal avoid a weapons charge. Appearing before Judge Dickinson R. Debevoise in Federal District Court here, Mr. Minor, 68, pleaded guilty to six criminal charges. His lawyer, Thomas R. Ashley, said that based on the plea agreement with federal prosecutors, “we would expect a sentence in the range of 18 to 24 months,” but the judge is not bound by that. Judge Debevoise set sentencing for July 18; some of the charges could carry sentences of up to 20 years in prison. Mr. Ashley said Mr. Minor would not speak about the case outside court. A year ago, Mr. Minor was challenging Mayor Cory A. Booker by promoting his law enforcement experience, which included a stint as the presiding judge of Newark Municipal Court followed by five years as the Essex County prosecutor in the 1990s. Running on a ticket with allies of former Mayor Sharpe James, Mr. Minor received 35 percent of the vote; Mr. Booker received 59 percent. Four months after the election, Paul J. Fishman, the United States attorney for New Jersey, drew a very different picture of Mr. Minor, announcing an indictment of him and two younger men. The charges stemmed from the arrest in 2007 of Abdul Williams, who was charged with illegal gun possession. Prosecutors said Mr. Williams, who had several prior convictions and could have faced a long sentence as a repeat offender, plotted to have Jamal Muhammad, a childhood friend with a cleaner record, confess to the crime. Mr. Minor took $3,500 in two payments from Mr. Williams in return for acting as Mr. Muhammad’s lawyer, escorting him to the Newark police and having him claim the gun was his, although Mr. Minor knew the claim was false. The indictment charges that Mr. Muhammad was paid $1,500, though investigators say he was promised much more. A grand jury discounted Mr. Muhammad’s confession and indicted Mr. Williams on the gun charge. In January 2010, as F.B.I. agents and federal prosecutors were investigating the case, Mr. Minor lied to them about his involvement and produced a bogus backdated retainer agreement in an effort to show that he had worked for Mr. Muhammad, not Mr. Williams. Mr. Muhammad, who was 32 when he was indicted, pleaded guilty to his role in the scheme in November. The case against Mr. Williams, who was 33, is pending. Mr. Minor joins a long line of local politicians with criminal records. Mr. James served a prison sentence on corruption charges. And both of the Essex County executives Mr. Minor served with, Thomas J. D’Alessio and James W. Treffinger, also went to prison.


Can't Stop Laughing said...

and he was a prosecutor and cop- you can't make this stuff up - I will add this crook to my list of lawyers to be proud of.

Anonymous said...

For a moment there I though it was Gary I. Greenwald from the Greenwald Law Offices. My bad this criminal will never confess to his crimes, hope the FEDS grab him soon and nail him to wall like a board during hurricane season.

termite inspector said...

That federal juror, just excused, probably didn't even know that neither a prosecutor, a lawyer, a judge, or a cop can be trusted in court. This moral hazard exists because lawyer and judicial misconduct is tolerated and usually excused by those responsible for policing the bar and bench. In NY, the crooked judges have their apologist, Tembeckjian, looking out for their interests and the attorney grievance committees protect the lawyer scum under their jurisdiction. And where is and was "Cuomo the Magnificent" for the past 5 years? Schneiderman,the boy wonder?

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