The Bizarre Scene Outside Federal Court Today in Newark

NEWARK – What a preposterous and embarrassing scene to witness today outside the federal courthouse, as a human clothesline in khaki pants and blue sports jacket with a “court security officer” tag in his hankie pocket bellowed in the middle of U.S. Senator Bob Menendez’s (D-NJ) press conference, “clear the path.”

Attempting to make himself heard, Menendez found himself drowned out utterly by yet another entreaty and then another, and then another from the same incoming cruise missile of a man, who evidently didn’t bother to take a moment to see that the path was already clear. The reporters found themselves hanging from tree limbs like lower primates amid cameras trying to chronicle Menendez as the court security officer again yelled.


Moments earlier, a clutch of briefcase-toting attorneys led by Abbe Lowell had waited like a team of teen ballerinas in the wings while Menendez spoke, before gingerly and soundlessly making their way down the ramp out of the courthouse and through the crawlspace behind the senior senator.

Lowell and company.

The court security officer, however, was not done.

With the reporters already gaggled together under tree limbs like a scene right out of Gorillas in the Mist, or Quest for Fire, a few of the pencil-wielding homunculi fast-stepping away from the oncoming officer, he found one apparently by the scruff of the neck and hauled him off.

But it wasn’t a reporter at all.

It was a former reporter.

It was Menendez Spokesman Steve Sandberg, upbraided and derided and publicly marched in full view of the media back up the ramp, a red-handed exhibit a emblem of that kind of person in the media who doesn’t listen to authority. The two men went back and forth out of earshot, Sandberg probably trying to make the point that he was Menendez’s spokesman, after all, and had been standing near the senator, because that’s what spokesmen do.

But the court security officer wasn’t through.

“See the way they listen to me,” he yelled, again overriding the soft-spoken Menendez, who sounded like he was being run over by a bus and a tank all at once.

There was a last-standing actual reporter completely out of the lane, inoffensive, elbows tucked under his armpits and legs and feet folded out of view and the officer, maybe unsatisfied until he defrayed the humiliation of snagging Sandberg by humiliating a real reporter, buffaloed on in and ran him – completely inappropriately – off.

Just weird.

And unnecessary.


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