Eight years ago, the last time the two United States Senators from New Jersey signed off on a candidate for U.S. Attorney, the appointment of a First Assistant U.S. Attorney was part of the deal. That was when the new Republican President, George W. Bush, wanted to name Christopher Christie as the new federal prosecutor. Because Christie had no criminal law or prosecutorial experience, Democratic Senators Robert Torricelli and Jon Corzine only agree to sign off on his appointment if they had input into the selection of Christie’s number two.
Former Assistant U.S. Attorney Walter Timpone was widely expected to get the First Assistant post; he was the one Torricelli and Corzine (mostly Torricelli; Corzine was a freshman) had been pushing. He also became Christie’s choice, and the new U.S. Attorney went to Washington to lobby on his behalf. But Timpone’s chances faded after FBI surveillance revealed that while acting as the defense attorney for former Hudson County Executive Robert Janiszewski, who had allegedly been recruited by federal prosecutors to be a witness against Torricelli, was visiting Torricelli at his home. There was a feeling that Timpone had tipped off the senior Senator, and while he avoided prosecution for tampering, his prospects of becoming First Assistant were over.
Sources say that the current U.S. Senators, Frank Lautenberg and Robert Menendez, have made to requests to be involved in the staff selection of their choice to become the next U.S. Attorney, Paul Fishman.