NEWARK – First Assistant U.S. Attorney Michele Brown joined Special Agent Weysan Dun on the sidewalk outside the federal courthouse moments after Judge Dennis Cavanaugh read the jury’s guilty verdict in six of the nine counts the feds leveled against former state Sen. Joseph Coniglio (D-Paramus) – five counts of mail fraud and one count of extortion
“Sen. Coniglio joins an ever-expanding list of public officials who have disgraced their offices,” Brown said of Coniglio, whom jurors found guilty of accepting $100,000 from Hackensack University Medical Center in exchange for securing over $1 million in grants. “The jury returned guilty verdicts on all those counts involving an exchange of money with the exception of one count.
“No public official is permitted to sell his office,” added Brown. “Sen. Coniglio sold his office.”
“We take little joy in convicting yet another public official,” said Dun. “But we are thankfully governed by the rule of law, not the rule of man.”
Each count comes with the potential penalty of 20 years in prison, but Brown said the U.S. Attorney’s Office would pursue sentencing of between 78 and 97 months. Cavanaugh set July 27th as a tentative date for sentencing.
Asked about whether the U.S. Attorney’s Office would pursue the prosecution of anyone else in connection with the case, Brown said, “This investigation is continuing.”
When Cavanaugh read the verdict, Coniglio sat with his defense attorney, Gerald Krovatin, and huddled with him after the judge dismissed the jurors and Brown and Dun joined reporters in the street.
Brown said members of the U.S. Attorney’s Office would consult regarding whether or not they would pursue a single count of mail fraud against Coniglio – count number four in the indictment -which jurors today considered without reaching agreement as to how to proceed. Cavanaugh ruled after discussions with consul that he would hear the jurors’ verdicts on the other eight counts.