A personal website Joseph Ferriero launched just before the start of his corruption trial today carries a simple message: “Welcome Joe Ferriero friends. Joe’s Site is Temporarily Unavailable. Check back soon.” Ferriero was convicted yesterday on federal conspiracy and mail fraud charges.
Ferriero’s website originally carried the slogan “Ferriero: Family First,” and featured a photo of Ferriero and the late Ted Kennedy. In a section called “The Early Years,” Ferriero points to building a “neighborhood sandlot baseball field,” serving as the “head altar boy” and coming “just four merit badges short of Eagle Scout.”
On the day jury selection was set to begin a new biography of the former Bergen County Democratic Chairman appeared on Wikipedia. The profile cast Ferriero in an extremely positive way, including family photographs, community service awards, and his record in support of diversity, senior citizens, education, the homeless, and lower taxes.
The wiki page also alluded to allegations that Ferriero’s prosecution was politically motivated, and links to a website. The Record reported the pending jury selection, and curious potential jurors who Google Ferriero would see the Wikipedia page as the top link. U.S. District Court Judge Stanley Chesler later warned jurors not to look for Ferriero on the Internet.
The wiki bio has subsequently been edited.