Gov on James: time to move on, but Martini ‘blew it’

BOONTON – On the day former Newark Mayor Sharpe James arrives home from a federal prison after serving time for corruption, the man who prosecuted him chastised the judge who refrained from throwing the book at James, and offered his hope that his old nemesis has a happy and productive life. 

“The jury passed unanimously on the charges against Mayor James,” said Gov. Chris Christie, the former U.S. Attorney. “He has now served his time. He will finish serving his time in a halfway house. He’s paid his debt to society for those things that he was convicted of.

“You don’t hold personal animus or venom for someone you prosecute,” Christie said. “You’re doing your job.”

Despite the U.S. Attorney’s Office pursuit of a 20-year sentence for James for selling city land at a cut-rate to his girlfriend, U.S. District Judge William Martini in July of 2008 gave the long-serving former mayor just 27 months.

Martini in rendering his judgment criticized the U.S. Attorney’s Office for seeking the harder sentence for James.

Today, Christie fired back. “I think he blew it,” the governor said of Martini’s decision to ignore the call for a stiffer sentence.

But, “Now that he’s out (James), we need to move on.”