Trials & Litigation

Courtroom mic, left on during recess, picks up lawyer's assertion that prosecutor is 'in my pocket'

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A New Jersey lawyer says he was joking when a courtroom mic, left on during a family court recess, picked up his assertion that the Morris County prosecutor is “in my pocket.”

The remark by family law attorney William Laufer of Morristown was recorded on the court’s system, NJ Advance Media reports. The news organization obtained a copy of the transcript and heard the recording in which Laufer talked about Morris County Prosecutor Fredric Knapp.

“Whatever I ask, he does,” Laufer told his opposing counsel in the conversation recorded in December 2014. The remarks became an issue on Tuesday when a divorce litigant, Tobia Ippolito, read from the transcript in court.

The litigant’s estranged wife is represented by Laufer. Ippolito questions whether Knapp’s decision not to pursue stalking charges against his wife was due to Laufer’s relationship with Knapp. Laufer’s co-counsel and the wife “vehemently denied” the stalking allegations, according to the article.

Laufer was a law partner with Morris County Prosecutor Fredric Knapp for about 20 years. The governor appointed Knapp as acting county prosecutor in 2012, about five years after Laufer and Knapp stopped practicing law together. Knapp was confirmed by the Senate in 2014.

During Laufer’s conversation, he said he got Knapp the prosecutor’s job. “I didn’t want him around any more,” Laufer said. “He wasn’t very productive, so I said ‘why don’t you become a Morris County prosecutor.’ “

Laufer told NJ Advance Media that the remarks were taken out of context and they were a joke. “Nothing that was said was true,” he said. He added that he respected Knapp and they are friends.

The county prosecutor’s office said the “in my pocket” statement was “totally and completely false.”

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