HAMILTON, NJ -- After Judge Roger Haley dismissed criminal charges against Hamilton Mayor Kelly Yaede, the reactions from Team Yaede and her political opponents were swift.
In a statement to TAPinto Hamilton/Robbinsville, Yaede said that “I was vindicated when a Judge dismissed the baseless charge the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office filed against me on September 3, 2019.
“My attorney has demanded a public apology. The timing of this bogus charge prior to an election is suspicious at best. I look forward to getting back to the business at-hand and serving my constituents of Hamilton in the next term without distractions from politically motivated shame investigations.
“I am certain that the people of Hamilton will not be fooled by this nonsense. The same vigor that led me to prevail against these groundless allegations, will continue in my commitment to the citizens of Hamilton,” said Yaede.
On September 3, the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office filed charges in Hamilton Township against Yaede and her primary election campaign manager, Dan Scharfenberger, with the disclosure of an expungement order, a disorderly persons offense (in violation of 2C:52-30). The charges had stemmed from a heated June mayoral primary election against Dave Henderson that Yaede won.
The charges against Schargenberger also were dismissed by Judge Haley on Friday.
“The judge granted the motion for dismissal as a matter of law based on a Supreme Court ruling. We accept his decision and do not intend to appeal,” announced the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office.
Reached by TAPinto Hamilton/Robbinsville, Henderson said that “the judge’s decision was based upon law and legal procedure instead of the facts of the case and Kelly had to hire a high-priced lawyer to dodge the charges.
“She (Yaede) lied and acted in an unethical manner by being associated with a phantom website. The charges being dropped doesn’t make it ethically correct. It’s just dirty politics,” added Henderson.
Council President Jeff Martin, who is challenging Yaede in the November mayoral general election, reacted to the court decision by stating that “What this case really showed us is the lengths Kelly Yaede will go to lie and mislead the public. We learned that Mayor Yaede conspired and directed her campaign to intentionally lie and mislead voters and the public at large.
“This is just another in a long pattern of lies in which she has been caught. She lied to the public about problems at the animal shelter; about public health and safety inspections of our restaurants; and about scandalous actions by her campaign. It’s time to end the lies, clean house and restore Hamilton’s image,” added Martin.
In his decision, Judge Haley ruled in favor of Yaede’s motion to dismiss the charges which cited New Jersey Supreme Court ruling precedent established in G.D. versus Bernard Kenny in 2011.
“What that case said was that lawfully obtained records can be posted on the internet. It’s Mayor Yaede’s constitutional right,” said Robin Lord, legal counsel for Yaede, who added that the expunged documents that were publicly distributed online by Yaede’s campaign were legally obtained through the Open Public Records Act (OPRA)
“She could have posted them on the Empire State Building if she wanted,” added Lord.
Meanwhile, Henderson has filed civil legal action in the matter against Yaede, her campaign manager, Yaede’s chief of Staff Marty Flynn, and the Hamilton GOP for circulating the expunged documents. He said that he still believes that Yaede should step aside and allow the Hamilton Republican Party to pick a new candidate to appear on the November General Election ballot.
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