Report: Judge Throws out State’s Case Against O’Donnell

O'Donnell

In a major setback for state prosecutors, the bribery and corruption case against Jason O’Donnell, a former Democratic legislator who was running for mayor in Bayonne, was thrown out of court Thursday after a judge found the candidate had committed no crime, according to Ted Sherman of NJ.com.

From Sherman’s story:

The judge dismissed the indictment because she said O’Donnell had no power to make any promises in return for a $10,000 cash payment he allegedly accepted from an informant during an undercover sting operation.

“Jason O’Donnell had nothing to offer him,” said Superior Court Judge Mitzy Galis-Menendez, noting that he was not a public official at the time. “I think you need more than mere words.”

The Attorney General’s office said it plans to appeal.

“We strongly disagree with today’s decision, which, if upheld, effectively legalizes bribing candidates for public office,” said Peter Aseltine, a spokesman for the office. “We do not think this is what the Legislature had in mind when drafting this law and we look forward to appealing this ruling once we receive the written opinion.”

The state has 45 days to appeal.

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