In Burlington County, Republicans continue to attack Tracy Riley for the clients that her husband, a defense attorney, represents.
Last week, the Republican mayors of three towns near Fort Dix wrote a letter to Riley – one of the eighth district’s Assembly candidates — requesting that she ask her husband to stop representing one of the alleged Fort Dix terror plotters. Riley responded that she was offended that Republicans were tying her campaign to her husband’s occupation and said that she had no involvement in the case.
District eight Republican candidates Phil Haines, Dawn Addiego and Scott Rudder said today that Riley’s statements were misleading because she works as a law clerk work in her husband’s firm and plans to take the bar and continue working with him as an attorney.
“Why is it ‘offensive’ that someone would point out that you and your husband make your living working at the same law firm together? What is so ‘offensive’ about the truth?” asked the Republicans in a press release.
They went on to argue that Riley worked on the cases of several notorious clients of her husband, and questioned whether working as a defense attorney could negatively impact her work as a legislator.
“Assuming you pass the bar exam and practice law, how would your position as a career criminal defense attorney affect decisions you make in the legislature when it comes to passing tougher laws against violent criminals and protecting victims’ rights?” asked the three candidates in a statement.
Riley’s husband, Michael Riley, is a former prosecutor who tried several death penalty cases. He was appointed to represent the Fort Dix defendant. Riley spokesman Peter Clerkin called the attack a diversion.
“From Day One, Republicans have tried to block Tracy Riley's attempts to reform local government. This is what happens when you have a citizen candidate, like Tracy Riley, that is fighting an entrenched machine,” said Clerkin.
Clerkin was also happy to point to a Saturday Burlington County Times editorial blasting the Republicans’ line of attack.
“Trying to smear Tracy Riley because her husband is carrying out his country's constitutional mandate is a foolhardy tactic on the part of the mayors — and the Republican organization backing them,” said the editorial.