TRENTON – Federal investigators sought the cooperation of Ocean County GOP Chairman George Gilmore in an unspecified public corruption investigation as early as 2016, according to a statement made in court by Gilmore’s lawyer Kevin Marino documented in court transcripts.
FIRST ON OCEAN COUNTY POLITICS: Marino said in open court during Gilmore’s arraignment that Supervisory Criminal Investigator Thomas Mahoney of the United States Attorney’s Office accompanied by an IRS revenue agent showed up at Gilmore’s Toms River home in 2016 with the goal of getting Gilmore “… into cooperating into some sort of political corruption investigation.”
“They have looked high and low for evidence of political corruption,” Marino said of the federal government’s investigation. “They have asked Mr. Gilmore, they’ve appeared at his home in August of 2016,” he said at a court appearance in late January, documented in a transcript made public earlier this February.
Marino said that the federal investigators told Gilmore that there “must be folks in Trenton that you know things about and you can help yourself and so forth, and so on.”
Marino’s statements in federal court did not identify what the substance of the unrelated public corruption investigation was, or whether or not Gilmore has, or intends to enter into any cooperation agreements with the federal government.
Marino’s Potential Conflicts Become An Issue
The U.S. Attorney’s office – which intends to call at least one associate from Gilmore’s firm as a witness in the trial – contends that Marino’s representation of both the attorneys from Gilmore’s firm and Gilmore is a conflict of interest, and filed a motion with the court to that effect.
According to a letter sent by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Vikas Khanna and Matthew Skahill filed in court in connection with pretrial motions, Marino’s potential conflicts of interest have been an issue since at least early 2017.
“As we have discussed, this Office believes that your representation of Mr. Gilmore, Gilmore & Monahan, P.A., all of the attorneys at that law firm, and the other entities that are subjects of the subpoenas could present several conflicts of interest,” the joint letter read. The letter was dated January, 2017 but was filed with the federal court as an exhibit in February, 2019.
Documents filed in federal court have shed some light on the progression of the investigation. Notably, In October, 2017, all 12 of the attorneys who work at Gilmore’s firm were subpoenaed by the U.S. attorney’s office, poking some holes in contentions made by officials that the case has nothing to do with his firm’s representation of municipalities. The subpoenas called for them to testify before the grand jury in November and October of that year.
For his part, Marino, has said that he has written waivers regarding conflicts of interest from all of the witnesses from the Gilmore law firm that testified before the federal grand jury in 2017 and 2018. Despite those waivers, the prosecution is still pressing the issue.
Court records revealed that Judge Thompson granted the federal government’s motion that requested an inquiry into potential conflicts of interest in connection with Marino’s representation. A hearing has been set to resolve the issue in March before Judge Thompson.
36 Gigabytes of Records Seized
There is a very voluminous amount of discovery materials in the trial as well. Electronic records seized by investigators have topped a whopping 36 gigabytes, according to a court transcript obtained by Ocean County Politics.
“The electronic size of those subpoenaed records alone is approximately 36 gigabytes,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Jihee Suh told Judge Thompson in federal court. “I’m advised by my IT department that that’s at least 12,000 electronic files. The defendant’s going to need some time to review that.”
Will Ocean County GOP Chairman George Gilmore turn state's evidence?
- Yes (64%, 119 Votes)
- No (36%, 67 Votes)
Total Voters: 186