Government

Sen. “Kip” Bateman Critical of Christie’s Decision to Oust Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey Soriano

56aa2489228b664f4750_sompixkipbateman__1_.jpg
State Sen. Christopher "Kip" Bateman is critical of  Gov. Chris Christie's decision to oust Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey Soriano.
64bf643313fcdfe6d49b_sompixprosecutorlogo.jpg
7fd22020b22b8adfce63_sompixchrischristie.jpg
Gov. Chris Christie is replacing Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey Soriano with Basking Ridge attorney Michael Robertson effective March 7.
56aa2489228b664f4750_sompixkipbateman__1_.jpg

SOMERVILLE , NJ – Friends and colleagues of outgoing Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey Soriano gathered to wish him well yesterday, one day after Gov. Chris Christie opted to replace him with Basking Ridge attorney Michael Robertson, an assistant US attorney who had served under Christie when he was the federal prosecutor in charge of the Newark office.

The impromptu gathering began late in the afternoon Friday at Verve Restaurant & Bistro, across the street from the Somerset County Courthouse and office complex where Soriano has presided over the office since 2011.

 He was surrounded by well-wishers, many of whom were still wrestling with the chain of events that led to his dismissal on Thursday, just one day after a group of prominent New Jerseyans, including three former governors, released an open letter that challenges Soriano’s murder/suicide conclusion in the 2014 deaths of a prominent Montgomery couple in the bedroom of their home. 

Sign Up for E-News

“We’re all crying in our beers,” said state Sen. Christopher “Kip” Bateman, who was highly critical of Christie’s decision to dismiss Soriano, whom he described as his good friend. Bateman represents Somerset, Middlesex, Hunterdon and Mercer counties.

“You talk to anybody that’s dealt with Geoff - chiefs of police, attorneys, the Women’s Resource Center, any agency that came in touch with him, they all think he is top notch,” Bateman said. “He’s a professional.

“The morale over there, it’s the best it’s ever been,” he said, referring to the prosecutor’s office staff and detectives. “This is just devastating to do this to someone with his credentials. He’s bright, articulate and well-liked.

“I was very disappointed in what the governor did,” Bateman said. “I told him he was wrong. The governor tried to tell me it wasn’t the Sheridan situation. He told me he had lost confidence in Geoff.”

John and Joyce Sheridan were found in the bedroom of their home – where a fire had been set – on Sept. 28, 2014. She had been stabbed 10 times. Her husband was found unresponsive, with five stab wounds, five broken ribs and cuts. He was 72. She was 69.

Following a six-month investigation, Soriano’s office and the state Medical Examiner concluded that Sheridan had killed his wife and then taken his own life.

The couple’s four sons have disputed those findings, saying that their father, the former CEO of Cooper Health Systems in south Jersey, and their mother had a happy marriage of 47 years. They hired private investigators whose conclusions have challenged the official findings.

On Wednesday, the “Friends of John & Joyce Sheridan,” a group of nearly 200 prominent and highly-influential people released their letter. The group includes former Governors Thomas Kean, James J. Florio and Christie Whitman; a former state Supreme Court Justice, two former state attorneys general and a former chief state prosecutor.

In part, it read: “We have long agreed with independent experts and the media that have reviewed the case that there are compelling reasons to question the murder/suicide conclusion reached by the medical examiner and the prosecutor’s office.”

Despite what Christie told him, Bateman is convinced the letter led to the governor’s decision.

“Isn’t it ironic that he received the letter the day before and then all of the sudden the next day he calls to have him removed,” Bateman said.

Bateman confirmed that Soriano has been offered a position with the state Attorney General once he cleans out the desk in his Somerville office that overlooks the Main Street 9/11 Memorial. Robertson is expected to take over on March 7.

“He’s thinking about it, but listen, he got sucker punched. He doesn’t know what he’s going to do. They really haven’t given him a lot of time,” Bateman continued.

Soriano did have a law practice in Somerville, but relinquished it to take on the job as the county’s top law enforcement official.

“It’s hard to re-establish a practice after five, six years,” Bateman said. “Clients go elsewhere.

“He’s very good attorney, he’ll wind up on his feet,” Bateman continued. “This is a setback, but knowing him, he’ll come out of it.”

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

North Plainfield/Green Brook/Watchung

Podcast: The Royal Wedding Through the Eyes of a Brit

May 19, 2018

In our May 18 podcast, Giles Bootheway, a British citizen who teaches at St. Bonaventure University, shares his thoughts on the Royal Wedding with TAPinto Greater Olean Co-editor Richard Lee.

PLAY

Sign Up for E-News to get top stories delivered daily to your inbox. 

Download the FREE TAPinto App!  Click here for Android - Click here for iOS to get ...

Charity Golf Tournament to Benefit Parkland Cares and the Jason Taylor Reading Room, May 17 -Travels Charity Spotlight -

PARKLAND, FL - Parkland Cares will hold a Charity Golf Tournament on Thursday, May 17 at Parkland Golf & Country Club, with 100% of the proceeds going to the Jason Taylor Reading Room and Parkland Cares.  The event is presented by Steven Douglas and former NFL player and Hall of Famer Jason Taylor will be in attendance.

Howard Dvorkin, CPA, is chairman of Debt.com and a 30-year ...

Food to Travel For - Two Jersey Shore Dining Hot Spots in National Limelight for Specialty Eats

BELMAR, NJ — Two Belmar specialty eateries have made the national food-hopping map. Coney Waffle Ice Cream and Sweet Shop on Ocean Avenue and Hoagitos in Belmar Plaza are featured this month on television shows touting what makes them stand out from the rest.

The over-the-top ice cream creations of Coney Waffle are in the spotlight in Viceland’s “The Ice Cream Show” in ...

Bon Jovi’s Opening Band Sent Travels a Message Last Night - Talk About a TEMPT-ation

Travels did not get to see Bon Jovi the second night of the Madison Square Gardens set. However, their opening band was kind enough to send us a statement.  That is a nice consolation!

“This House is not for Sale” tour is special in that Bon Jovi brought on local talent to headline for them in each city.  TEMPT was one of the bands selected and they opened for Bon ...

Belmar Mayor Grants ‘Larry the Lobster’ His Freedom to Kick Off New Jersey Seafood Festival

May 19, 2018

BELMAR, NJ — Belmar Mayor Brian Magovern wasn’t going to let the rough ocean surf and high winds get in his way yesterday of pardoning “Larry the Lobster” to begin the New Jersey Seafood Festival.

Instead, Magovern moved the May 18 event from the Fifth Avenue beach to the quieter waters of the Shark River Inlet. Accompanied by a small group of borough officials and ...

Food to Travel For - Two Jersey Shore Dining Hot Spots in National Limelight for Specialty Eats

BELMAR, NJ — Two Belmar specialty eateries have made the national food-hopping map. Coney Waffle Ice Cream and Sweet Shop on Ocean Avenue and Hoagitos in Belmar Plaza are featured this month on television shows touting what makes them stand out from the rest.

The over-the-top ice cream creations of Coney Waffle are in the spotlight in Viceland’s “The Ice Cream Show” in ...

Holy Savior Academy Presents ‘The Sound of Music,’ Eighth Graders Inducted into Thespian Society 

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – Holy Savior Academy's Drama Club performed 'Getting to Know: The Sound of Music' on May 3 and May 4. 

Holy Savior Academy's Drama Club just finished its fourth year and has performed six shows. The Drama Club is run under the direction of Susan Loughlin, Daneile Micale and Eva Tripodi. This year’s production, which featured a cast ...

Obituaries

Jul 28, 1955 - Feb 8, 2018
Owner/Chef of Jaret’s Stuffed Cupcakes  Beloved Husband, Father, Brother and ...
Read more

Upcoming Events

Sat, June 2, 9:00 AM

South Plainfield

Holy Savior Academy 5K and Family Fun Walk

Health & Wellness

Wed, June 6, 10:00 AM

Summit Free Public Library, Summit

Workshop on New Jersey Sales Tax for business ...

Business & Finance Education

Tue, June 12, 7:00 PM

FairBridge Hotel and Conference Center, Somerset

SPHS Class of 1968 50the Reunion

Education

North Plainfield Schools Earn Distinction as Schools of Character

May 20, 2018

NORTH PLAINFIELD, NJ - North Plainfield schools have been recognized as New Jersey and National Schools of Character.

Acting Superintendent of Schools Michelle Vella shared the following:

North Plainfield Public Schools have a long history of incorporating Character Education into the daily curriculum, teaching, and ultimately our student practice.  A thoughtful and ...

WHRHS Baseball: Roxbury Baseball Powers Past Watchung Hills

ROXBURY, NJ – The Roxbury High School baseball team won its 14th game on Friday, rolling over Watchung Hills 9-1 at home.

Offensively, Roxbury did its damage early, scoring twice in the second inning and then five more times in the third to take an early 7-0 lead.

Roxbury’s Will Findlay had two hits and Donovan Brady, Andy Axelson and Brian Dachowski all had base hits. In ...

North Plainfield Middle and Watchung’s Valley View to Compete in Rotary Club’s 91st Annual Track and Field Meet

NORTH PLAINFIELD, NJ -The oldest service club of the three Plainfield's will hold their most important annual community service project on June 6 at the Hub Stine Athletic Complex in Plainfield.

Long a mainstay in supporting the North Plainfield and Plainfield communities, the Rotary Club of Plainfield-North Plainfield will offer an afternoon of friendly but determined competition to ...

North Plainfield Middle School Hosts Holocaust and Genocide Open House

NORTH  PLAINFIELD, NJ - All are invited to the 2018 North Plainfield Middle School Holocaust/Genocide Open House on Thursday, May 17 at 6 p.m. Students and staff will be on hand to serve as docents for a unique exhibit.

It is a museum in a school, created by the school, constructed by the school and for everyone in the community. featuring  over 400 posters, memorabilia and artifacts ...

WHRHS Boys Lacrosse: Bridgewater Upsets Watchung Hills in OT for SCT Title

BRIDGEWATER, NJ - So close. The Watchung Hills boys lacrosse team fell to Bridgewater-Raritan, in overtime, as the Panthers won a fourth-straight Somerset County Tournament title on Saturday, 5-4, at the Torpey Athletic Complex.

Watchung Hills took an early 3-0 lead in the first quarter with goals from Gavin DeFuria, Connor James, and Joe Rica. 

The last game the ...

North Plainfield Launches Operation Safe School Partnership

NORTH PLAINFIELD, NJ - North Plainfield police will soon be present in the schools on a daily basis, Chief William G. Parenti and Acting Superintendent of Schools Michelle Vella announced on Thursday.

The Operation Safe School Partnership will begin on Monday, May 14.  

“North Plainfield policing has always been about improving our visibility, accessibility and ...

Hillsborough Man Sentenced for Bribing Doctors in $100M Test Referral Scheme

May 18, 2018

NEWARK, NJ – Five individuals including a Hillsborough resident  were sentenced Friday for bribing doctors in exchange for test referrals as part of a long-running and elaborate scheme operated by Biodiagnostic Laboratory Services LLC (BLS), of Parsippany, its president and numerous associates, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.

Doug Hurley, 38, of Hillsborough and Kevin ...

WHRHS Boys Lacrosse: Bridgewater Upsets Watchung Hills in OT for SCT Title

BRIDGEWATER, NJ - So close. The Watchung Hills boys lacrosse team fell to Bridgewater-Raritan, in overtime, as the Panthers won a fourth-straight Somerset County Tournament title on Saturday, 5-4, at the Torpey Athletic Complex.

Watchung Hills took an early 3-0 lead in the first quarter with goals from Gavin DeFuria, Connor James, and Joe Rica. 

The last game the ...