A former heavyweight attorney is expected to continue rolling over on the man who helped escort him to power, as the trial of former Bergen County Democratic Chairman Joseph Ferriero continues today in federal court in Newark.
Attorney Dennis Oury, who copped a plea two days before their trial was to begin last week, told jurors today that his former buddy produced a “hit list” of towns that he believed would award contracts to a sham grant-writing firm in which both men were silent partners.
The big question was whether Ferriero would try and strike a deal with the government once Oury admitted his role in the plot or push all his chips to the middle of the table and take his chance with a jury. He chose the latter.
Supporters’ insisted Oury wouldn’t rat out his pal. But the former lawyer made no bones about his hope that the judge, thanks to his cooperation, will see fit to grant him a lesser sentence than the 72 to 84 months he’s looking at for conspiracy and tax evasion.
After all, in the eyes of politicians and prosecutors alike, Ferriero — once aligned with Jon Corzine’s running mate, Loretta Weinberg — is by far the bigger fish.
Oury talked for two hours about what he said was Ferriero’s blueprint to steer contracts for their shadow company, initially run by a pair of front men, to municipal clients who would heed their recommendations.
Oury said he figured their connections would help him and Ferriero seal a host of deals, as long as they could find a “public face” who would front the venture.
The two PR men they hired told jurors Monday that they bagged it after a week because they were uncomfortable with their assignments. A licensed community planner took ovet and quickly snagged $1.4 million in state and county funds in 2004 for Bergenfield — where Ferriero at the time held sway and Oury had just been appointed borough attorney — to buy and preserve the historic Marchbank estate.
Oury said their flunky lied about the company’s expertise simply as a way of conning local officials into handing them that fat contract.
Oury also identified a notebook the government took into evidence from Ferriero as one that included a “hit list” of other towns they hoped to sell their bogus business to.
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