It probably won’t take the gubernatorial campaign of Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno too long before they remind voters – in a significant way – of her biggest take-down in a court of law: disgraced Somerset County Prosecutor Nicholas Bissell.
It was 1995, and Guadano was working for then-U.S. Attorney Faith Hochberg, who indicted the prosecutor on 30 corruption counts, including skimming cash from a gas station that he owned in part; and strong-arming those he indicted for his own personal benefit. In the words of one longtime Republican insider, the aggressive Bissell had started out well but simply stayed on the job too long, amassed too much power, became drunk with it, overreached, and flamed out in spectacularly tragic fashion.
Guadagno sealed his fate as a member of the team that made the government’s case against him in the courtroom.
Sentenced to six to eight years in a federal prison, Bissell faced the prospect of occupying space with people he had jailed. There was also the personal disgrace factor. With U.S. marshals mobilizing outside his motel door, his time on the lam ended when he killed himself in Nevada.