Acting New Jersey Gov. Richard Codey yesterday urged the Attorney General’s Office to release secret recordings from an aborted South Jersey public corruption investigation, raising the ante in a legal dispute that now pits state government’s two most powerful offices against each other. Codey’s senior aides summoned top officials from the Attorney General’s Office to tell them the acting governor wanted the audiotapes — alleged to contain frank discussions between politicians and powerbrokers about the seamier side of New Jersey government — made public, reports the Star-Ledger.
On Tuesday, Superior Court Judge John Sweeney ruled the tapes must be released by 4 p.m. today. At issue is 330 hours of secret recordings that include two private conversations of South Jersey Democratic powerbroker George Norcross III, one of the state’s most influential political figures. A local councilman who was a cooperating government witness wore a secret recording device to make the tapes in 2000 and 2001. The investigation led to guilty pleas by three executives in an engineering firm to tax charges involving political contributions. The witness said Norcross attempted to bribe him.