Ending months of speculation over the powerful Bergen County Proseuctor, Gov. Chris Christie today announced his intent to nominate Gurbir Grewal, who works in the U.S. Attorney's office in Newark.
Grewal would replace John Molinelli, whose term was up in January. Molinelli, a Democrat, was appointed by Gov. Jim McGreevey.
Since 2010, Grewal has worked at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Newark as the Deputy Chief of the Economic Crimes Unit and Computer Hacking and IP Crimes Unit.
Before he can take office, Grewal must travel a long road to confirmation that begins with senatorial courtesy. Five state senators represent pieces of Bergen and Grewal must be acceptable to all. He'll then enter an ongoing feud between the governor and the Senate over appointments, including two Supreme Court nominees who have languished for months without a hearing.
Christie's choice of county prosecutors has caused sparks in Trenton before.
Last year, Christie nominated Fredric Knapp to take over as prosecutor in Morris County, but the nomination stalled in the Senate. In December, the governor took matters into his own hands and asked Attorney General Jeff Chiesa to remove sitting prosecutor Robert Bianchi, installing Knapp in his place. Later that month, the Senate voted to sack Knapp, sending Christie into a tirade.
In February, Bianchi resigned as prosecutor and dropped a suit he had filed to keep his job.
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"Enlisting Fox is another reminder of how much Christie has truly relied on insiders, including Democrats, to bolster his agenda or bail him out of trouble. Not long after arriving in Trenton in 2009, Christie began collaborating with George Norcross, the deeply entrenched Democratic Party kingmaker, to help him cut deals with a Democratic-controlled Legislature.
When his close ally David Samson resigned as chairman of the Port Authority over conflict-of-interest questions earlier this year, Christie replaced Samson with John Degnan, a pillar of the Democratic Party establishment. And now, confronted with a crisis, Christie has turned to “Jamie,’’ as Fox has been known throughout political circles since he began as an aide in the Democratic Senate in the 1980s." - columnist Charles Stile
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