PATERSON, NJ – The two bitter rivals in the 2nd Ward City Council election appeared in municipal court in Woodland Park on Tuesday and both sides agreed to drop criminal charges against each other.
“This was like a personal thing and I didn’t want to get involved in it,’’ said Councilman Mohammed Akhtaruzzaman. “I want to focus on doing what the people elected me to do.’’
“This is something that we’re putting behind us,’’ said former councilman Aslon Goow. “We’ll move forward.’’
In a bizarre series of political events, Akhtaruzzaman upset Goow, who had been a 12-year incumbent, in the May council election; Goow filed a lawsuit that resulted in the nullification of Akhtaruzzaman’s victory; and Akhtaruzzaman then prevailed again in a special election in November.
The criminal charges stemmed from the May campaign.
Akhtaruzzaman on Tuesday agreed to drop verbal assault and criminal mischief charges he filed against Goow, according to the coouncilman’s lawyer, Theodore Kyles. Akhtaruzzaman also dropped a charge he filed against the former councilman’s brother, Samir Goow, accusing him of making threats to shoot Akhtaruzzaman, Kyles said.
As part of the deal, Kyles said, Samir Goow dropped two charges against Akhtaruzzaman – harassment and an accusation that the councilman made false statements to a police officer involving the alleged threat.
Kyles said there are no other pending changes between his client and the Goows.
Meanwhile, in a letter issued last month, the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office dismissed four criminal charges that New Jersey Pulse publisher Sirrano Keith Baldeo had filed against Aslon Goow. Those charges stem from Goow’s time on the city council and as a result the city is paying for Goow’s lawyer in that matter.