Charged with an additional count of mail fraud on top of existing federal charges, former Assemblyman Louis Manzo (D-Jersey City) and his brother, Ronald, pleaded not guilty this morning in the courtroom of Judge Jose Linhares, according to 1010 Wins.
“I maintain my innocence. I never took a bribe from anyone, nor agreed to any corrupt action,” Lou Manzo said in an emailed statement. “The prosecutors in this case know that as well.
“The indictment is the manipulation of a corrupted prosecution, handled by some prosecutors who had personal and professional stakes in the investigation and prosecution of the Bid Rig III police action. Those stakes, as documented form the public record, were jobs for themselves or family members; tied to former United States Attorney Chris Christie’s election for Governor of New Jersey in November 2009.
“These same prosecutors violated Department of Justice guidelines and Federal laws by failing to recuse themselves from the investigation, despite maintaining partisan personal and political ambitions throughout the course of the investigation and prosecution.
“They did so because, alike their former boss, they knew that they can hold themselves out to be above the law. They have an arrogant confidence that no one, or no court, will hold them accountable. They rely on tradition: the Department of Justice never seems to hold its own accountable – no one is watching the watchers.”
Among 44 people arrested in July of last year as part of Operation Bid Rig, the Manzos stand accused of illegally accepting $27,500 from a cooperating witnes.
The additional mail fraud count carries a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison and a $1,000,000 fine.