New Jersey attorney general resigns

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

New Jersey's attorney general resigned on Tuesday after a special prosecutor concluded that she violated state ethics laws in an incident involving her boyfriend and a traffic stop.

At an evening press conference with Governor Jon Corzine, Zulima Farber, who will step down on August 31st, said she is leaving office "out of respect for the governor" and not because she was asked to do so.

"I admit to being human and making that error. I am truly sorry and apologize to all New Jerseyans for that mistake," she added.

The alleged violation happened about four months ago on Fairview Avenue when Zulima Farber, the state's top ranking law enforcement official, showed up in her official car with the lights flashing just as her boyfriend was being ticketed, officials say.

The calls for Farber's resignation grew louder today after a special prosecutor found she violated the state's ethic laws when she intervened when police were ticketing her boyfriend.

Richard Williams, special prosecutor: "Things occurred after her arrival which clearly suggested something other than business issues on the part of the local police ... and those signs were ignored and ... there was treatment for more than what was expected" an official said.

In a report, Williams wrote: "The attorney general did not fufill her duty to ensure that the laws were faithfully and fairly enforced. The conclusion is inescapable that her personal relationship with Hamlet Goore caused her to act in a partial manner."

On May 26, 65-year-old Goore was stopped at a routine seatbelt check on Fairview Avenue. Within minutes, Farber showed up and she and her live-in boyfriend were allowed to drive away in a van that was improperly registered. Local police later tried to avoid the ticket.

"I have never heard of an attorney general in the state of New Jersey or anywhere else who has gone through a traffic stop ... that's terribly intimidating to local police officers," State Senator Gerald Cardinale (R-Bergen County) said.

Her boyfriend was at their North Bergen home today but he didn't want to talk to Eyewitness News.

The couple have certainly had their share of traffic trouble. Farber has gotten 12 speeding tickets, four bench warrants issued for her arrest and three license suspensions.

Goore has had his license suspended 10 times and has gotten four speeding tickets and two other moving violations.

And Farber has been appointed to serve as attorney general until 2010. The only way she can leave is to resign or to be impeached. She cannot be fired.

Though she was an historic choice -- the first Hispanic to ever hold the title of attorney general in New Jersey -- though now it appears she will go down in history for other reasons.

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