Lawyer says McGettigan knew he represented porn industry

The “porn lawyer” that James McGettigan criticized Atlantic County Executive Dennis Levinson for hiring is actually McGettigan’s labor counsel.

Yesterday, Atlantic County Sheriff James McGettigan, who is Levinson’s Democratic challenger this fall, said he was “outraged” that the county hired a lawyer who advises the adult entertainment industry. But the lawyer, Eric Bernstein, said he was hired by the county to work primarily on McGettigan’s behalf.

"I cannot understand the Sheriffs issues with me as I have, and still serve him as his labor counsel. I personally advised him of my involvement in the adult entertainment industry years ago", said Bernstein.

McGettigan’s press release, which stated that “the public has a right to know why and how the Levinson Administration hired this porn lawyer, and whether he’s representing us on our dime, not pornographers” was just the latest salvo in what has become an especially nasty race.


Bernstein, who specializes in first amendment and labor law, has served as McGettigan’s labor counsel since 2002, and says that he informed McGettigan long ago of his work on his pornography industry-related work.

“McGettigan is clearly using whatever tactic necessary to try to improve his position in the upcoming election. I am simply a casualty of his smear campaign,” said Bernstein.

McGettigan acknowledged that Bernstein worked as his labor counsel, but denied that he had any knowledge of his work for in porn industry.

“That is a bold faced lie,” said McGettigan. “I, my Undersheriff, Jack Tuohy, and my chief sheriff’s officer Clinton Warren, will all swear that we were not made aware that Eric Bernstein represented the porn industry.”

Bernstein’s work in the adult entertainment industry, which the Warren-based attorney says is only to promote compliance with the law, is well known in political circles and has been the subject of numerous stories in New Jersey newspapers over the last few years.

When pressed, Bernstein said he could not remember the exact way he informed McGettigan of his work, but said he was certain that he had, as it was not something he kept secret. He added that some other members of the Sheriff Department actually asked him if he ever met porn star Jenna Jameson.

“I find it amusing that he’s never said a word to me about the situation and I’ve been representing the man for several years. I found out about his unhappiness when I got a call about his press release yesterday,” said Bernstein.

Levinson said that he played no part in hiring Bernstein, who was hired through a Request for Proposal process as the lowest bidder for the job. “I wouldn’t be able to pick him out of a lineup,” said Levinson, who bristled at the notion that he’s to blame for Bernstein’s hiring.

“The guy’s been serving him since 2002, and he’s going to blame me?” Levinson asked.

Lawyer says McGettigan knew he represented porn industry