Author Topic: Louis Manzo  (Read 9179 times)

Offline speaknj

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Ruthless Ambition, by Louis Manzo
« Reply #29 on: 06-08-2014, 10:27pm »
ruthless ambition on Vimeo
Speak NJ is a public access cable program that airs in Jersey City and Bayonne.  Mondays, Jersey City 10:30 PM and Tuesdays 9:00 PM, Channel 51. In Bayonne, channel 19, Tuesdays @ 9:00 PM

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Manzo calls for oversight investigation, alleges misconduct in handling of "Bid Rig" sting at speech in Jersey City
Published: Thursday, June 21, 2012, 6:42 PM
Updated: Thursday, June 21, 2012, 8:31 PM
Matthew McNab/The Jersey Journal

At a speech in Jersey City Tuesday, former Hudson County politician Lou Manzo called for a federal oversight investigation into "Operation Bid Rig III," which resulted in the 2009 arrests of Manzo and 20 other county politicians.

In front of about 50 people at the Miller Branch Library, Manzo, a former Assemblyman from the 31st Legislative District, called the crimes the U.S. Attorney's office charged him and other county politicians with "created by the attorney's office."

"The fact that these crimes were created is undisputed," Manzo said. "These crimes were created to affect political outcomes by prosecuting the opposition, and utilized for the advancement of careers."

A Democrat, Manzo said the probe, initiated by current New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, unfairly targeted Democratic leaders around the state and that Christie himself told the FBI informant Republican leaders in the state were off limits to the probe.

Manzo implied that was done so Christie could manipulate the leaders into giving their support to him for his successful gubernatorial run in 2009, but Gov. Christie's Press Secretary, Michael Drewniak, dismissed his claims as nonsense.

"Lou Manzo has already been disgraced and discredited by his own conduct," Drewniak said. "He has no credibility and just deludes himself into thinking otherwise."

Manzo was charged with extortion under the Hobbs Act and interstate travel and mail fraud under the Travel Act, but all charges against him were dismissed.

The same judge that dismissed his charges from the probe dismissed his attempt to have the Justice Department reimburse his legal fees this April, deciding he failed to show the prosecutor misconduct he claimed. Manzo said he has already filed an appeal.

After that decision, Drewniak called Manzo's claims of selective prosecution and misconduct "baseless conspiracy theory stuff."

The U.S. Attorney's office declined to officially comment, but provided a memo filed after Manzo filed documents to recoup the legal fees he had paid.

In that memo, filed in April, Manzo made the same claims that the crimes were "created" by the attorney's office. The memo responded that "whatever (Manzo's) theory may be, there is no basis in fact to support this claim."

Adam Albanese was one of the audience members for Manzo's speech. Albanese said he didn't know Manzo's story well before the speech, but felt he was in agreement with some of the things Manzo said during the speech.

"It sounds like there can't be as much corruption here as it would seem," he said. "It's unhealthy to think everyone in politics is bad right from the start."

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Re: Louis Manzo
« Reply #27 on: 06-04-2012, 11:04am »
From this weekend's JJ Political Insider column:



RETURN OF THE COMEBACK KID?
The outspoken former Jersey City Assemblyman Lou Manzo, who has been living at the Jersey shore while successfully battling his federal indictment on corruption charges, is planning to take his show on the road -- or should I say back home.

On June 19, Manzo will appear at a town forum at Jersey City's Miller Branch Library at 7 p.m. as part of the public library's Community Awareness Series and titled "A Movement for Justice to Safeguard Civil Rights -- Does your Vote Count?" The ex-legislator intends to explain the "real issues" about Operation Bid Rig III. Bid Rig is the name federal prosecutors gave to the sting that led to the July 2009 roundup of 44 political figures, mostly from Hudson County, charged with corruption, and Jewish religious leaders who faced a variety of complaints, including money laundering.

Manzo was among those caught in the wide net and one of the one to have his indictment thrown out.

Incensed by what he calls his "death" on the day of the arrest, Manzo has been a constant critic of the U.S. Attorney's Office that he says used the major sting to help elect Republican Gov. Chris Christie, who initiated Bid Rig III before leaving office to eventually unseat Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine. After the arrests, Manzo held a press conference where his attacks on federal prosecutors was viewed by some in the news media as coming from someone perceived as unhinged. I thought it was typical Lou in his berserker mode.

Since having the charges dropped earlier this year, Manzo has been working on a book about his experiences and has volunteered to speak anywhere about prosecutorial misconduct, which he says includes not following Justice Department guidelines and even influencing municipal elections, since federal sting money doled out by an FBI informant made its way into tight Jersey City and Hoboken municipal races.

At the upcoming library forum and without using a calliope, I expect Manzo to do his best Jim Nightshade impersonation, despite the age difference, to warn forum visitors that something wicked this way comes.

Or is Manzo really planning a Jersey City comeback?

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Jersey City politician Louis Manzo's demand for legal fees reimbursement is rebuffed by federal judge
Published: Tuesday, April 24, 2012, 3:00 AM
By Terrence T. McDonald/The Jersey Journal

Louis Manzo, the former Jersey City assemblyman whose corruption case was twice thrown out by a federal judge, cannot force the U.S. Attorney's Office to reimburse him for legal fees because he did not prove the government's conduct was frivolous, that same judge ruled Friday. Manzo has been battling the U.S. Attorney's Office since his 2009 arrest, when he was caught up with 45 others in the massive corruption and money-laundering probe that put a host of Hudson County politicos behind bars.

But Manzo, whose second indictment on those charges was thrown out by Judge Jose Linares on Feb. 17, has not proved that the government's prosecution of him was malicious or intended to harass, according to Linares' ruling, which was filed yesterday.

"While the government argued a novel theory under the Travel Act in attempting to apply it to conduct of an unelected candidate for public office, said theory was not groundless or without any legal merit," Linares writes in his 10-page ruling.

Manzo was originally charged with two counts of extortion under the Hobbs Act and two counts of violating the Travel Act, alleging he crossed state lines to commit a crime. He was accused of agreeing to accept bribes from federal informant Solomon Dwek during Manzo’s unsuccessful 2009 campaign for Jersey City mayor.

Linares in May 2010 threw out the Hobbs Act charges, saying Manzo couldn't be charged under that federal statute because it applies only to public officials, not candidates for public office.

The U.S. Attorney's Office soon amended the indictment, charging Manzo with the Travel Act violations and one other charge, but Linares in February threw out that indictment as well. Manzo then sued to have $150,000 in legal fees reimbursed, claiming the government's actions were "vexatious, frivolous, or in bad faith."

"The court's opinion confirms that this office acted in good faith," U.S. Attorney spokeswoman Rebekah Carmichael said yesterday.

Manzo said yesterday he was withholding comment while he and his lawyer determine whether Linares erred by ruling too early. The government's motion arguing against reimbursing Manzo's legal fees was filed April 16, and Manzo said he believed he had more time to reply before Linares ruled.

"We didn't actually complete our argument," he said. "Some of the points in the government's brief were absolutely falsehoods, so we didn't get a chance to make the court aware of that."

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I'm sure if you looked up the word chutzpah you'd see a picture of Lou Manzo.



Former assemblyman Louis Manzo says feds broke law in prosecuting him and should reimburse him $150,000
Published: Thursday, March 15, 2012, 3:03 AM
By Michaelangelo Conte/The Jersey Journal

Now that every charge filed against former state assemblyman Louis Manzo by the U.S. Attorney’s Office has been thrown out by a judge, Manzo has filed a motion seeking to have $150,000 in attorney fees reimbursed under the Hyde Amendment. The Hyde Amendment, which was enacted in 1997, allows for court costs to be reimbursed to criminal defendants where the court finds the position of the United States was “vexatious, frivolous, or in bad faith.”

“What we filed today shows without at doubt that federal prosecutors broke the law, and my question is why are they immune and why isn’t anyone prosecuting them,” Manzo told The Jersey Journal. Manzo said he has lost his house and business as a result of the failed prosecution.

Compensation awarded under the Hyde Amendment would come out of the budget of the specific federal agency involved, in this case the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

“It is stunning that someone who was recorded agreeing to sell the office for which he was running conduct a federal judge described as reprehensible would attack prosecutors who were following that evidence where it led,” U.S. Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Rebekah Carmichael said last night about Manzo’s filing.

Manzo, a Democrat, has claimed from the beginning that the sting dubbed Operation Bid Rig III in which 46 people were charged on corruption and money laundering counts in July 2009 was part of a conspiracy to get Gov. Chris Christie elected. Manzo was not an elected official at the time he was charged, but was running for mayor of Jersey City. He was originally charged with two counts of extortion under the Hobbs Act and two counts of violating the Travel Act for allegedly crossing state lines to commit a crime.

In May 2010, U.S. District Court Judge Jose Linares tossed the Hobbs Act charges, saying the Hobbs Act only applies to elected officials. The U.S. Attorney’s Office then obtained two superseding indictments leaving Manzo facing two counts of bribery under the Travel Act and one count of failing to report that others were taking bribes. Last month, Linares tossed those charges, too.

Christie was U.S. attorney for New Jersey when the probe was launched, but left that office before the arrests were made. A spokesman for Christie’s office has called Manzo’s allegations absurd.

In the filing, Manzo alleges assistant prosecutors working on Bid Rig III were promised jobs in state government by Christie while working on the probe. The filing also alleges the government’s informant, Solomon Dwek, “implicated prominent Republicans but the government never targeted them and instead sent Dwek into the Democratic County of Hudson to target people who had never been implicated in any wrongdoing,” Manzo said.

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Federal judge dismisses all charges against former Jersey City Assemblyman
Published: Friday, February 17, 2012, 5:56 PM
Updated: Friday, February 17, 2012, 7:40 PM
By The Jersey Journal

In a stunning blow to federal prosecutors, a federal judge in Newark has dismissed all charges against former Jersey City assemblyman Lou Manzo, one of 44 people arrested in the massive corruption sweep of July 2009.

In a 60-page ruling released today, Judge Jose Linares granted Manzo’s motion to dismiss all counts in his indictment.

READ THE DECISION (PDF)

Manzo is accused of accepting more than $20,000 from a government informant, Solomon Dwek, who was posing as a developer seeking favors.

Manzo, who was not an elected official at the time, but was running for mayor of Jersey City, was charged with two counts of extortion of under the Hobbs Act and two counts of violating the Travel Act, meaning he crossed state lines to commit a crime.

In May 2010, Linares tossed the Hobbs Act charges, saying the Hobbs Act only applies to elected officials. The U.S. Attorney's Office then obtained a superseding indictment, leaving Manzo facing two counts under the Travel Act and two counts of failing to report that others were taking bribes.

On Jan. 26, Manzo's lawyer, John Lynch, argued that the corruption charges against Manzo are bogus and were part of a conspiracy to get Republican Gov. Chris Christie elected.

---

Ecstatic former state Assemblyman Lou Manzo reacts to dismissal of corruption charges

Published: Friday, February 17, 2012, 7:29 PM
Updated: Friday, February 17, 2012, 7:32 PM
Michaelangelo Conte/The Jersey Journal

"The truth is the truth," an ecstatic Lou Manzo told The Jersey Journal this evening, about an hour after learning a federal judge had thrown out all of the corruption charges he faced as part of Operation Bid Rig III.

"I went to church, thanked God, and now I'm just enjoying it,'' he said. "It was a hard-fought battle. Hopefully, I can get my life back."

The former state assemblyman from Jersey City said he was walking on the boardwalk in Belmar when his lawyer, John Lynch, called him with the good news.

"I was very happy about it," said Manzo, who was accused of taking more than $20,000 from FBI informant Solomon Dwek, who was posing as a developer seeking favors.

Manzo's life has been hit hard by his long and vocal battle since his arrest in July 2009.

"I went from making six figures a year to nothing," Manzo said. "I lost a home in Jersey City. I lost my insurance business in Jersey City. I have been fortunate my mom and my sister have helped me.'' Manzo has been living with his mother in Belmar.

On the day he and some 40 others were arrested, Manzo was placed in a holding cell with numerous others, including several rabbis charged in non-political portions of the massive sting. He couldn't imagine, he said today, why he had been charged.

"Why am I here?'' he recalled thinking. "And why are there so many rabbis?"

Manzo, who wasn't an elected official at the time of the alleged bribes, had recently lost a bid to become mayor of Jersey City when he was busted.

He faced two counts of bribery under the Travel Act and one count of failing to report that others were taking bribes. In a 60-page opinion filed by U.S. District Court Judge Jose Linares before 5 p.m. today, those charges were dismissed.

Manzo was originally charged with two counts of extortion under the Hobbs Act and two counts of violating the Travel Act, meaning he crossed state lines to commit a crime.

In May 2010, Linares tossed the Hobbs Act charges, saying the Hobbs Act only applies to elected officials. The U.S. Attorney's Office then obtained two superseding indictments, leaving Manzo facing two counts under the Travel Act and one count of failing to report that others were taking bribes.

On Jan. 26, Lynch, argued that the corruption charges against Manzo were bogus and part of a conspiracy to get Chris Christie elected as governor, a charge the governor's office has called "total nonsense.'' Christie had been the U.S. Attorney for New Jersey when the Bid Rig III probe was launched.

Lynch said today that Linares found the bribery statute does not apply to a candidate under the circumstances alleged by the government.

The government said Manzo should have reported the conduct of two people who took bribes, but Linares found that the conduct witnesses by Manzo was not criminal, Lynch said.

Now, Manzo said, he is working on a book about Christie, his election as governor and the Bid Rig III probe. He is hoping, he added, that the government will not choose to seek a fourth indictment against him.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office said prosecutors accept the judge's ruling.

Offline shahaggy

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Re: Louis Manzo
« Reply #23 on: 01-27-2012, 04:10pm »
yup, another vast right wing conspiracy  ::)
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Online MCA™

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Manzo's attorney argues that corruption charges are bogus
« Reply #22 on: 01-27-2012, 11:42am »
Former assemblyman and Jersey City mayoral candidate Lou Manzo's attorney argues in federal court that corruption charges are bogus, and that Chris Christie conspired to use bribery sting to tar Democrats and help his quest for governorship
Published: Friday, January 27, 2012, 3:00 AM
By Michaelangelo Conte/The Jersey Journal

The attorney representing former Jersey City assemblyman and mayoral candidate Lou Manzo argued in court yesterday that corruption charges against Manzo are bogus and were part of a conspiracy to get Republican Gov. Chris Christie elected.

John Lynch, Manzo’s attorney, argued yesterday that all charges against his client should be immediately dropped and that the probe was aimed at helping Christie get elected by embarrassing Democrats. He also noted that several assistant U.S. attorneys who worked on the cases got state jobs after Christie was elected. Christie was U.S. attorney at the inception of the massive probe that resulted in charges against Manzo and numerous other Hudson County Democrats.

The governor’s press secretary, Michael Drewniak, yesterday called Manzo’s claims “total nonsense,” and accused Manzo in a phone interview of trying to divert attention from the crimes he’s been charged with. One of 46 people arrested as part of the Operation Bid Rig III sting in 2009, Manzo was accused of accepting more than $20,000 from a government informant who was posing as a developer who was seeking favors.

Manzo, who was not an elected official at the time, but was running for mayor of Jersey City, was charged with two counts of extortion of under the federal Hobbs Act and two counts of violating the Travel Act, meaning he crossed state lines to commit a crime.

In May 2010, a federal judge tossed the Hobbs Act charges on the grounds that the Hobbs Act only applies to elected officials. But then the U.S. Attorney’s Office filed a superseding indictment against Manzo, leaving him facing two counts under the Travel Act and two counts of failing to report to authorities that others were collecting bribes.

Lynch argued yesterday that federal prosecutors manufactured jurisdiction in Manzo’s case by having FBI informant Solomon Dwek suggest one of their meetings take place in New York. He said that even if the allegations were true, as a candidate for a municipal office, Manzo’s conduct would be a matter for state election law and “Just because you pay a toll doesn’t give the federal government jurisdiction.” Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark McCarren argued Manzo willingly crossed a state line in the furtherance of illegal activity and that suffices to give the federal government jurisdiction under the Travel Act.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric Kanefsky said yesterday that for Manzo to show there was selective prosecution, he would have to prove that others in his situation were not prosecuted because they were not Democrats. He also said that if there had been a conflict of interest in the U.S. Attorney’s Office, there is none now since Christie and his closest allies no longer work there.

U.S. District Court Judge Jose Linares said he will rule on all the arguments at a later date. Manzo’s trial had been slated to begin on Feb. 7, but that seems unlikely now and a hearing will held that day to decide when the trial will start.

Journal staff writer Stephanie Musat contributed to this report

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Former Jersey City Assemblyman Lou Manzo seeks dismissal of corruption charges
Published: Wednesday, September 28, 2011, 3:00 AM
Terrence T. McDonald/The Jersey Journal

Saying federal officials “incorrectly” targeted candidates for public office in its Operation Bid Rig III sting, the attorney for former Jersey City Assemblyman and failed mayoral candidate Lou Manzo argues in a motion filed in federal court yesterday that all corruption charges against him should be dismissed.

The feds have attempted to “bootstrap” bribery charges on Manzo after failing in their initial bid to convict him on corruption charges, the 82-page motion reads. Additionally, Manzo’s attorney claims there is “absolutely no grounds for federal prosecution,” according to the motion.

Federal officials declined to comment on Manzo’s motion.

Manzo was one of 46 defendants rounded up in the massive 2009 corruption sweep. He and his brother Ronald are accused of accepting $27,500 from federal informant Solomon Dwek while Lou Manzo was running for Jersey City mayor in 2009.

The brothers agreed to accept an additional $17,500 after the election in exchange for assisting Dwek with his purported real estate projects, according to the July indictment charging Lou Manzo.

Lou Manzo faces two counts of bribery and one count of failing to report a felony.

The charges are the third time the feds have come after Manzo for essentially the same alleged crimes. He was previously charged, along with his brother, of seven extortion counts that were then thrown out by Judge Jose Linares because the feds were alleging violations of a federal law that pertains to public officials, not political candidates.

The feds filed a superseding indictment against both Manzos in April, and then filed the second superseding indictment against just Lou Manzo in July, after Ronald Manzo agreed to testify against former Secaucus Mayor Dennis Elwell in exchange for charges he faced with his brother being dropped.

Lou Manzo’s status as a candidate for public office at the time of the alleged crimes is broached in yesterday’s motion.

“Louis Manzo’s purported influence was nonexistent at the time of the alleged bribery, and any future influence was nebulous, unrealistic and not within the parameters of the statute, nor is there a scintilla of ‘public servant’ present,” the motion reads.

Manzo’s trial is scheduled to begin Feb. 7, with pre-trial hearings set for Dec. 12.

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Former Jersey City assemblyman pleads not guilty to all corruption charges
Published: Tuesday, July 19, 2011, 1:25 PM
Updated: Tuesday, July 19, 2011, 1:26 PM
By Terrence T. McDonald/The Jersey Journal

Former Jersey City assemblyman Lou Manzo was arraigned in federal court in Newark today, pleading not guilty to three corruption charges.

Manzo, who was arrested in the massive 2009 corruption sweep, is charged with two counts of bribery and one count of failing to report a felony. Manzo's attorney today said he's looking to have all the charges dismissed.

Manzo is accused of accepting $27,500 in cash bribes from federal informant Solomon Dwek during meetings the two had in Staten Island in 2009 with Manzo's brother, Ron, and former Jersey City official Ed Cheatam.

At the time, Manzo was a Jersey City mayoral candidate.

In May 2010, a federal judge threw out the most serious extortion charges against both Manzos. The U.S. Attorney's Office filed a superseding indictment two weeks ago that dropped the disputed extortion charges.

Ron Manzo testified for the government during the recent corruption trial of former Secaucus mayor Dennis Elwell that he never gave his brother the money from Dwek. John Lynch, Lou Manzo's attorney, said today that testimony puts his client in the clear.

"It seems that this indictment is inconsistent with their own witness," Lynch said.

During Elwell's trial, Ron Manzo testified that the U.S. Attorney's Office agreed not to call him as a witness in his brother's corruption trial in exchange for Ron Manzo's testimony against Elwell.

After the hearing, when asked what he's been up to recently, Lou Manzo said he's unemployed.

"I've been through this for two years, and it's wearing," he said.

Manzo's trial is scheduled to begin Feb. 7, 2012.

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Former Jersey City mayoral candidate Lou Manzo faces new corruption charge
Published: Friday, July 08, 2011, 5:14 PM
Updated: Friday, July 08, 2011, 5:14 PM
By Terrence T. McDonald/The Jersey Journal

Former Jersey City mayoral candidate Lou Manzo is facing more trouble from the U.S. Attorney's Office, which today filed a superseding indictment that adds one count of failing to report a felony to the two bribery charges Manzo already faced.

Manzo, one of the 46 defendants rounded up in the massive 2009 corruption sweep, allegedly agreed to "accept corrupt cash payments and illicit political contributions" from federal informant Solomon Dwek, according to the indictment.

Manzo and his brother, Ronald, pocketed $27,500 in the scheme, and agreed to accept an additional $17,500 after the 2009 mayoral election, in exchange for assisting Dwek with his purported real-estate projects, the indictment states.

"I'm disappointed that they returned an indictment, and it seems like they ignored the testimony of their own witnesses, who exculpated Lou," said his attorney, John Lynch.

Lynch said he was referring to testimony in the recent corruption trial of former Secaucus mayor Dennis Elwell, in which Ronald Manzo testified that he accepted the $27,500 without telling his brother about it.

Lou Manzo was previously charged, along with his brother, of seven extortion counts that were later thrown out by Judge Jose Linares because they were violations of a federal law that pertains to public officials. Neither Manzo was a public official at the time the alleged crimes were committed.

Lynch said his client's successful appeal of those charges has led to today's indictment. "This has now become more of a persecution than a prosecution," Lynch said.

The new charge, failing to report a felony, stems from Manzo's failure to report felonies committed by his brother and former Jersey City official Ed Cheatam, who pleaded guilty in 2009 to accepting bribes from Dwek.

This is the third time the U.S. Attorney's Office has indicted Lou Manzo. The original indictment dropped in October 2009, while a superseding indictment from April 2010 added a mail-fraud charge. That count has been dropped from this indictment, as have the seven Hobbs Act violations.

If convicted, Manzo faces up to five years in prison for each bribery charge, and up to three years in prison on the charge that he did not report a felony. Each count also carries a maximum $250,000 fine.

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Ronald Manzo pleads guilty to corruption charge he took cash from Dwek for meeting with then-mayor of Secaucus
Published: Thursday, May 12, 2011, 1:14 PM
Updated: Thursday, May 12, 2011, 2:36 PM
By Michaelangelo Conte/The Jersey Journal

Hudson County political operative Ronald Manzo pleaded guilty this afternoon in a federal court in Newark to accepting a $5,000 bribe from FBI informant Solomon Dwek in exchange for a meeting with former Secaucus Mayor Dennis Elwell, his attorney said.

Manzo, who was charged in the massive 2009 Operation Bid Rig III sting that netted dozens of political figures, was also charged in connection with his brother Louis Manzo's 2009 Jersey City mayoral campaign.

Ronald Manzo's attorney, Peter Willis, said that charge and a parole violation charge, was dropped in exchange for the guilty plea. Elwell has also been charged in the corruption sting and his trial is scheduled for next month.

Ronald Manzo, who will be sentenced on Sept. 22, faces from 12 to 18 months in prison under the terms of the plea deal. Willis said that Sam DeLuca, another attorney hired by Manzo, had negotiated the plea deal and Judge Jose Linares had given Manzo time to deliberate on it. In the end, Willis said, going to trial would have been too risky.

"It's in his best interest to put this to rest," said Willis, who added that "The subject of potentially cooperating (with the government) has only been briefly discussed and there has been no agreement up to today."

As part of the plea deal, Manzo agreed to forfeit the $42,500 he collected from Dwek for himself, his brother's campaign and Elwell's campaign. Willis said the portion that was to go into Lou Manzo's campaign coffers was never deposited.

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Federal appeals court upholds dismissal of extortion charges against former Jersey City mayoral candidate Lou Manzo and his brother Ronald
Friday, February 18, 2011
By TERRENCE T. McDONALD
JOURNAL STAFF WRITER

A federal appeals court in Philadelphia upheld a lower court's ruling that threw out the most serious charges against a former Jersey City mayoral candidate and his brother, both arrested in the massive corruption sweep of 2009.

Lou Manzo, who ran unsuccessfully for mayor in 2009, and Ronald Manzo, his brother and campaign manager, were charged with four counts of extortion. The U.S. Attorney's Office filed the charges under the Hobbs Act, a federal law prohibiting government officials from accepting cash for influence.

But the court yesterday ruled that the Manzos could not have violated the federal Hobbs Act, which prohibits extortion by use of force, violence, or "official color of right" because the Manzo brothers do not hold public office.

The Hobbs Act, the ruling states, "does not prohibit a private person who is a candidate from attempting or conspiring to use a future public office to extort money at a future date."

A district court came to the same conclusion last year. The U.S. Attorney's Office appealed, and yesterday's ruling by the Third Circuit Court of Appeals upholds the earlier decision.

Lou Manzo is "elated" by the court's decision, according to his attorney, John Lynch. "We said from the beginning this was an overreaching prosecution, and this validates us," Lynch said.

According to the July 2009 criminal complaint against the Manzos, the brothers met six times with informant Solomon Dwek that year, and accepted $27,500 from Dwek in exchange for the brothers' official assistance. Dwek also agreed to pay the brothers an additional $17,500 after the May 2009 municipal election, according to the complaint.

U.S. Attorney's Office of New Jersey spokeswoman Rebekah Carmichael said she had no comment on whether her office would appeal this latest ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court. "We are reviewing the court's decision to determine our next steps," Carmichael said.

The Manzos are also facing three additional counts of bribery and mail fraud. Those charges still stand.

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U.S. Attorney's Office is arguing in Philadelphia appellate court today that corruption charges against Lou and Ronald Manzo should not have been dismissed by federal judge in Newark
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
By MICHAELANGELO CONTE
JOURNAL STAFF WRITER

Federal appellate judges in Philadelphia will hear arguments this morning in an appeal filed by federal prosecutors in New Jersey seeking to overturn the dismissal of four of six corruption charges faced by former mayoral candidate Louis Manzo.

The U.S. Attorney's Office filed the four counts against Manzo and his brother Ronald Manzo under the Hobbs Act, a federal law prohibiting government officials from using their positions to obtain payments.

But Judge Jose Linares ruled in May that the Hobbs Act did not apply since neither brother was an elected official at the time of the alleged crimes, nor were they accused of promising to influence an elected official.

The Manzo brothers were charged as part of the massive federal probe, accused of accepting $27,500 in corrupt cash payments prior to the May 2009 Jersey City mayoral election and agreeing to accept $10,000 for helping FBI informant Solomon Dwek secure approvals for a Garfield Avenue development project that turned out to be fictitious.

The government's appeal argues that Louis and Ronald Manzo allegedly agreed to accept additional funds from Dwek if Louis Manzo won the election.

The government's brief argues: "The criminal scheme here failed only because Louis Manzo was unsuccessful in winning his mayor bid" and argues that "the success or failure of a conspiracy or attempt is immaterial to the validity of the charge."

Linares' ruling has tied up cases involving others who were not holding elected office at the time of the sting but were charged under the Hobbs Act.

Among them are unsuccessful Jersey City council candidates Michael Manzo, Jimmy King and LaVern Webb-Washington. All three pleaded guilty to taking bribes under the Hobbs Act and none held elected office at the time. Another unsuccessful council candidate, Lori Serrano, pleaded not guilty and her case is stalled pending the Manzos' appeal.

The brothers are also accused of taking $7,500 in exchange for promoting Maher Khalil, a former Department of Health and Human Services employee, if Louis Manzo was elected.

The Manzo brothers currently face two counts - mail fraud, and travel in interstate commerce to promote, carry on and facilitate bribery.

"We are confident that Judge Linares was right on the law," Louis Manzo's attorney, John Lynch, said yesterday.

The oral arguments in the appeal are scheduled for 9:30 a.m. before a three-judge panel in the James A. Byrne Federal Courthouse on Market Street.

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Lou Manzo feels his "life is over, no matter what happens"
« Reply #15 on: 10-15-2010, 08:53am »
Former Jersey City assemblyman Lou Manzo, who won dismissal of some federal corruption charges, feels his "life is over, no matter what happens"
Friday, October 15, 2010
By BOB BRAUN
THE STAR-LEDGER

Lou Manzo cannot be called a winner. That's too much of a stretch. But, in the oddly circumscribed world in which he must live, the former Democratic assemblyman from Hudson County is less of a loser than his many of peers. His indicted peers.

The status isn't comforting. His relative luck in court, another source of misery.

"It just puts everything on hold," says Manzo. "It extends the misery."

Manzo stares out over the railing of the porch of his mother's home in Belmar. He is now, more or less, homeless, he says, because he sold his Jersey City home to pay his legal bills, bills growing as he waits for the resolution of the issue he initially won.

"Innocent until proven guilty - that's a myth."

Manzo is one of a score of political figures, nearly all Democrats from Hudson County, caught up in the federal sting operation in July, 2009.

Most defendants have either pleaded guilty or been convicted and, in the process, their lawyers have filed, argued and lost scores of legal motions.

Manzo's lawyer, however, succeeded in achieving what could become a major turning point not only in his case, in other sting charges, but also in corruption trials throughout the country.

The lawyer, John Lynch, persuaded federal Judge Jose Linares that Manzo could not be convicted of one the charges - extortion committed by a public official - because Manzo was not a public official. The federal statute prohibits public officials from using their offices to seek or accept anything of value "under color of official right."

When Manzo had the misfortune of meeting the government informant, Solomon Dwek, who was then masquerading as developer David Esenbach, the politician was only a candidate. Linares ruled prosecutors could not resort to "legal alchemy" to make Manzo an office-holder.

"We respectfully disagree," said Paul Fishman, the U.S. attorney for New Jersey, whose office is appealing the ruling.

When Linares ruled, Manzo saw a legal mountain disappear. He was free to combat the other charges and bring motions charging prosecutorial misconduct.

"But then everything stopped - I'm in a cage with no way out," says Manzo, whose brother also is charged in the case. The cage was the decision by Fishman's office to appeal Linares's decision, and not to proceed with trying the charges until appeals courts rule - and the case conceivably could go to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Manzo can't get a job or use any of three state licenses - he is a teacher and worked as a health inspector. He is, of course, a pariah among former political pals, a hooked fish whose twistings to become free are not a pretty sight to those who are not yet hooked.

"My life is over, no matter what happens," says Lou Manzo. "A day in jail, a day on the outside, it's all the same to me."

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Ex-Assemblyman Louis Manzo responds to government's appeal in corruption case
Published: Thursday, September 16, 2010, 6:09 PM
Updated: Thursday, September 16, 2010, 9:51 PM
Melissa Hayes/The Jersey Journal

Attorneys for former Jersey City Assemblyman Louis Manzo and his brother Ronald Manzo submitted a brief arguing that a U.S. District Court judge was right in dropping four charges against them.

The U.S. Attorney’s office filed a 78-page brief Aug. 26 arguing that U.S. District Judge Jose Linares was wrong in dismissing extortion charges against the brothers.

The brothers, charged in Operation Bid Rig, had been charged with one count of conspiracy to commit extortion under color of official right and three counts of attempted extortion under color of official right.

The U.S. attorney brought the charges under the Hobbs Act, a federal law that prohibits officials from using government positions to obtain payments. But Linares ruled in May that since neither brother was an elected official, or promising to influence an elected official at the time of the alleged crime, the Hobbs Act doesn't apply in this case. In ruling he said the U.S. Attorney, “appears to believe that charging ‘conspiracy’ or ‘attempt’ is a legal alchemy with the power to transform any gap in the facts into a cohesive extortion charge.”

The government argues in its brief filed with the Third Circuit Court of Appeals that the brothers agreed to accept funds from Solomon Dwek, a real estate developer working as a government informant, after Louis Manzo was elected mayor of Jersey City. They are accused of accepting three corrupt cash payments totaling $27,500 prior to the May 2009 election and agreeing to accept $10,000 for helping Dwek secure approvals for a purported development on Garfield Avenue and another $7,500 for promoting Maher Khalil, who at the time worked for the city Department of Health and Human Services, once Louis Manzo was elected. “The criminal scheme here failed only because Louis Manzo was unsuccessful in winning his mayor bid. However, under black letter legal principles regarding inchoate crimes, the success or failure of a conspiracy or attempt is immaterial to the validity of the charge,” the government’s brief states.

In a 23-page brief filed today the brothers attorneys argue in support of Linares’ ruling. “The Hobbs Act does not state in its terms that those ‘hoping to hold public office’ or ‘stating an intent to hold public office’ hold or threaten to exercise some power over ordinary citizens,” the Manzo brief states.

They also argue that neither brother forced or threatened Dwek to give them money so there was no “quid pro quo.” “The Appellant seeks a fundamental change in the statute and existing case law by removing the ‘public official’ element, thus expanding the reach of the statute to anyone and everyone,” the Manzo brief states. “That is the 'alchemy' that the District Court referenced and found legally offensive. Absent this 'alchemy' there is no offense present.”

Offline bdlaw

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Re: Louis Manzo
« Reply #13 on: 03-24-2010, 10:12am »
I hope the US Attorney knows how to dodge a shovel.

:nerd:
Bobblehead: Wow, BMWs, cameras, and anal probes. Are we in Berlin?

[10:33 AM] del ban Woodsy: You do that and I will wash your mouth out with summer's eve after I kick your ass jehu.

Darna: it's because my people spend much of their lives barefoot, so when they discover shoes, it's a party!

RB: i rubbed mine last night to be ready for tonight

Burroughs: Thank you for a country in which no one is free to mind his own business

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Ex-Assemblyman Louis Manzo alleges government misconduct in FBI corruption sting
By Joe Ryan/The Star-Ledger
March 23, 2010, 7:20PM

A lawyer for a former assemblyman charged in last summer’s FBI sting asked a federal judge today to hold a hearing to determine if authorities committed "outrageous government misconduct," during their investigation.

The attorney, John David Lynch, said the massive corruption and money-laundering probe appears to have been engineered to help to elect Republican Gov. Chris Christie, the former U.S. attorney. Lynch’s client, Louis Manzo, was among 46 people charged in the probe. "This was in the middle of a campaign in which the man was running for governor of the state of New Jersey, and this indictment helped him," Lynch said.

Federal District Judge Jose L. Linares did not rule today on the request for a hearing.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Gramiccioni said it would be "inappropriate" to grant the request, saying Lynch had not made his case in writing and proving such allegations would be very difficult.

Last week, Manzo held a news conference to make similar allegations against the FBI and federal prosecutors. As proof, he cited contributions from staffers at the U.S. Attorney’s Office to Christie’s campaign. And he pointed to the dozen-plus former federal prosecutors who have since joined Christie’s administration.

The 55-year-old Democrat is charged with taking $27,500 in illegal campaign contributions from a government informant.


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« Last Edit: 04-29-2010, 08:50am by MCA »

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'There was an attempt to use a government sting to help elect Christopher Christie as governor of New Jersey,' defendant Manzo said
By Michaelangelo Conte/The Jersey Journal
March 16, 2010, 1:25PM

Clearly of the mind that the best defense is a good offense, former Assemblyman Lou Manzo came out swinging yesterday, charging that the corruption probe that led to his arrest and dozens of others was a political ploy aimed at getting former U.S. Attorney Chris Christie elected governor.

"There was an attempt to use a government sting to help elect Christopher Christie as governor of New Jersey," Manzo said at a press conference in Jersey City yesterday. "I'm astonished at seeing the evidence we collected. "It actually frightened me that this could happen in this country."

Manzo, 54, with his brother, Ronald, 65, are charged with accepting $27,500 in bribes from government informant Solomon Dwek. The bribes were allegedly handed over and accepted last year while Lou Manzo was waging yet another unsuccessful campaign to become mayor of Jersey City.

According to prosecutors, the Manzos promised to help Dwek gain approvals for a development he was supposedly building on Garfield Avenue. The sting ultimately led to charges against 46 people, including two Hudson County mayors.

The sting was part of a plot to launch Christie into the governor's seat by individuals who stood to personally benefit by Christie's election, Manzo charged yesterday, singling out former Acting U.S. Attorney Ralph Marra and former First Assistant U.S. Attorney Michele Brown. Brown made headlines when it was revealed that she had borrowed money from Christie and owed him $46,000. She landed a state job after Christie was elected. Marra left the USAO after he was appointed by Christie to the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority.

The assistant U.S. attorney prosecuting Manzo, Christopher Gramiccioni, contributed $500 to Christie's campaign, Manzo noted. After winning the election, Christie promoted Gramiccioni's wife, Deborah, to the post of director of the Authorities Unit in the Governor's Office.

"I think it is obvious when you connect the dots that there was an attempt to use a government sting as an effort to help Christie's election," Manzo said. Manzo hopes the state Senate, perhaps even Congress, will investigate the matter.

"He (Manzo) appears to be just another former public official in New Jersey charged with corruption who wants to divert attention from his own conduct," Christie spokesman Michael Drewniak said yesterday. "Maybe at his next press event Mr. Manzo could go into full detail about his conduct as described in the charges against him, but I don't think anyone will hold their breath," he added.

Twelve persons have already pleaded guilty in the massive money-laundering and corruption sweep. Former Jersey City Mayor Leona Beldini, the first defendant to go on trial, was found guilty last month of accepting $20,000 in illegal campaign contributions from Dwek. Beldini was the treasurer for the re-election campaign of Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah T. Healy, who has not been charged with any crimes.

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Manzo touts decades of dedication to civic life
« Reply #10 on: 05-06-2009, 09:02am »
JJ profiles Lou:



Manzo touts decades of dedication to civic life
Wednesday, May 06, 2009
By AMY SARA CLARK
JOURNAL STAFF WRITER

Former state Assemblyman Louis Manzo is running for mayor under the slogan "Change to Believe In." But it could be: "If at first you don't succeed, try again - and again and again and again."

Manzo, 54, is running for mayor for a fifth time. He's not giving up, he says, because he firmly believes he's the best person for the job.

"Seeing a city with so many problems is like a player who is on the bench," Manzo said. "He's just dying for the coach to put him in so he can win the game."

Running on a platform of lowering crime, stable taxes and improving the quality of life, Manzo says he wants to boost community policing, increase recreational programs, and get local residents jobs, in part by holding developers to their commitment to hire city dwellers.

Perhaps the most unique proposal he's made in this race is for the city to bond against what tax-abated properties will pay when their abatements expire. His "monetization plan" would rake in million of extra cash for the city, he said.

The youngest of three children, Manzo is a Jersey City native. His family owned Binetti Bus Co. in the city. After school, he joined the Jersey City Division of Health, becoming health chief in 1986.

In 1989, he said, he resigned over a disagreement over how to clean up the city's chromium hot spots. He says he wanted to remove the toxin, while others just wanted to cap the sites. He turned his experience into a novel, "God's Earth Also Cries," which was published in 2003.

In 1990, the political bug bit. He ran and won a freeholder seat and killed a plan to build an incinerator in the city.

"His motivation is to help the people of Jersey City," said Libero Marotta, an attorney who once served as corporation counsel for Union City.

"He could have played ball with the powers that be in Hudson County, without fighting for the principles he believes in, and got himself a nice soft position," he added. "For me that's quality people, who would put their idealism for the good of the people before their own self-interest."

A bachelor, Manzo lives in Journal Square and supports himself as an insurance consultant. A rabid Green Bay Packers fan, Manzo said several relationships with girlfriends fell through when they discovered his true love was civic duty.

"People were demanding time from me," he said. "They wanted to change what I wanted to achieve in my life in a different direction, and that did not work."

Offline speaknj

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Louis Manzo for Mayor
« Reply #9 on: 04-05-2009, 07:53pm »
I am supporting Louis Manzo for Mayor.  He has been active for over 20 years.  As a Freeholder, he stopped the building of an incinerator for Hudson County.  This action saved our quality of air.  As an Assemblyman, Manzo passed the Highland Preservation Act.  This act stops development near watershed property.  This act is important because former Mayor Schundler successfully won a tax appeal on our watershed property which forced the township where our water is located to allow development.  Development near our watershed is dangerous to our water quality.  Manzo has the political capital to do the right things.  I am posting a video on a recent interview on the same subject.
Yvonne
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/sKqAQffhUuA&amp;hl=en&amp;fs=1" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/sKqAQffhUuA&amp;hl=en&amp;fs=1</a>
Speak NJ is a public access cable program that airs in Jersey City and Bayonne.  Mondays, Jersey City 10:30 PM and Tuesdays 9:00 PM, Channel 51. In Bayonne, channel 19, Tuesdays @ 9:00 PM

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Re: Louis Manzo
« Reply #8 on: 08-17-2008, 09:58am »
Manzo gets ready to go on the air
By Matt Friedman

Former Assemblyman and potential Jersey City mayoral candidate Lou Manzo plans to air three commercials for his public advocacy office this month.

Two of the commercials explain the role and accomplishments of the office he set up last year, which occupies his old legislative office space. The other ad will take a critical look at Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy.

“I don’t know that it’s negative on Healy. It’s just pointing out that he’s not attentive to conducting business as a mayor and if you have a problem you can always get us.”

While Manzo acknowledged that the commercials could help position him for a mayoral run, he warned not to assume that it means he’s in the race. Manzo, who has run for mayor four times before, won’t enter the race unless State Sen. Sandra Cunningham declines to go for it herself, possibly giving him a ticket back to Trenton. Manzo lost to Cunningham in last year’s State Senate primary.

“I made it clear that if I was a candidate I’d be in the field right now. I’m waiting to see what Sandra Cunningham does and I’ll take it from there,” he said. “I don’t dance around. If I’m in it, I’m in it.”

Mayor Healy started airing his own positioning commercials earlier this year, which tout the accomplishments of his administration.

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Re: Louis Manzo
« Reply #7 on: 03-26-2008, 10:11am »
I wonder if he'd respond to requests to remove all the "Manzo Mayor" stickers his people have illegally stuck all over town.  Or would it be the usual excuse of "I'm not responsible for the work of these unknown, overzealous supporters"?  Say whatever you want about this guy as a politician, it's hard to deny he's one of the worst vandals in JC.
I moved to Jersey City when he was running in '04 and I was approached repeatedly about putting one of those big campaign signs in my front yard.

I have to say that based on the article above I can see why he'd garner that kind of support.

Offline cyclotronic

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Re: Louis Manzo
« Reply #6 on: 03-26-2008, 09:55am »
Manzo can be reached at (201) 946-7070. [/size]


I wonder if he'd respond to requests to remove all the "Manzo Mayor" stickers his people have illegally stuck all over town.  Or would it be the usual excuse of "I'm not responsible for the work of these unknown, overzealous supporters"?  Say whatever you want about this guy as a politician, it's hard to deny he's one of the worst vandals in JC.

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Re: Louis Manzo
« Reply #5 on: 03-25-2008, 08:47am »
From Al Sullivan's Political Column in the 3/24/08 JC Reporter:



Manzo opens public advocacy office
Picking up where he left off as state assemblyman for the 31st District, Louis Manzo opened his office on West Side Avenue in Jersey City to help residents of Bayonne and Jersey City cope with the complicated issues of Social Security, rebates, and other local, state, and federal issues residents might face.

Manzo, who also kicked off a TV show on public access television, hopes to become an advocate for residents on a variety of issues that include support for state programs such as the PAAD prescription program.

Manzo said he is seeking to use what he learned from his years as a freeholder, state assemblyman, and public health officer to benefit local residents, especially senior citizens.

"Anyone who needs help about anything should contact my office," he said.

Manzo can be reached at (201) 946-7070.

Jersey City, NJ Community Forums

Re: Louis Manzo
« Reply #5 on: 03-25-2008, 08:47am »