OCEAN COUNTY, NJ - President Donald Trump waited until the wee hours of last day of his presidency to release the 73 individuals he pardoned, as well as the 70 whose sentences were commuted. The news becomes local headlines as former Ocean County Republican Chairman George Gilmore wakes up today with a full presidential pardon.
The White House press release sums up Gilmore's conviction as it relates to his failure to pay payroll taxes and false statements he made (in conjunction with a mortgage application.) The statement from the Executive Branch also names many familiar New Jersey politicos as voicing their support for Gilmore's pardon.
Bill Stepien, who most recently served as Trump's campaign manager tops the list. Others come from both sides of the political aisle, including former Governors Chris Christie, James McGreevey, James Florio, Donald DiFrancesco, as well as John Bennett, Kimberly Guadagno, Thomas MacArthur, Gerald Cardinale, Michael Testa, Jr., David Avella, Joseph Buckelew, Lawrence Bathgate II, Larry Weitzner, and Adam Geller.
The government press release sums up Gilmore's presidential pardon by referencing the "important civic contributions Gilmore made over his career in New Jersey,"
News of the pardon comes a little over a month after the United States Attorney's office announced that a federal appeals court upheld Gilmore's conviction. The 71-year-old lawyer was sentenced on January 22, 2020, to one year and one day in prison after he was found guilty of two criminal charges. One, involved his failure to turnover payroll taxes withheld from his law firm employees. The other, was for false statements made on a mortgage loan application.
The Federal Appeals Court rejected four claims made by Gilmore to support his appeal and request for a new trial. The three-judge panel agreed with the trial judge regarding the exclusion of expert psychiatric testimony justifying Gilmore's actions as related to a "hoarding" disorder.
Ocean County Republican politics suffered a split into two factions when George Gilmore resigned as the head of the county GOP in 2019. Former Jackson Mayor Frank Holman, a Waretown resident, won a contentious race over Frank Sadeghi to replace Gilmore as the chairman.
"George has always been known as the kingmaker," shared a local politician, who asked not to be named. "Anyone he supported, was sure to get elected."
Gilmore's conviction did not stop his involvement in Republican politics. He voted at last year's Ocean County GOP Convention. Representatives throughout the county continue to be divided between the Gilmore and Holman camps.