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Ex-County Prosecutor Sues to Be Reinstated

Complaint claims law that allowed Attorney General to take over Morris County Prosecutor's Office at Gov. Chris Christie's request is unconstitutional.

Ex-County Prosecutor Sues to Be Reinstated

Former Morris County Prosecutor Robert Bianchi is suing to try to have the courts overturn a law that allowed the Attorney General to take over the Morris County Prosecutor's Office on Friday at Gov. Chris Christie's request, according to The Star-Ledger.

Bianchi's father filed the lawsuit Monday on his son's behalf, claiming the law that allowed the Attorney General's Office "supersession" on Friday is unconstitutional because it conflicts with another state law that says a governor can only remove a county prosecutor after showing cause and holding a public hearing, the report says.

Christie said in a news conference Friday uncertainty about the status of the position hurts office morale, according to reports.

Christie requested the move in order "to promote an orderly and speedy transition to Prosecutor Bianchi's successor, and to ensure uniform and efficient criminal law enforcement in Morris County," an Attorney General's Office spokesman said Friday.

Bianchi, a Morris Plains resident since 2005, was appointed to a five-year term by Democratic Gov. Jon S. Corzine. The term expired on June 22, but the Democratic-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee has never considered Knapp, the Florham Park attorney nominated by Christie, a Republican, more than six months ago.

Attorney General spokesman Leland Moore said "the Governor is acting on the basis of long-standing powers granted him by the Legislature, and his action is consistent with all Constitutional and statutory authority."

The Daily Record reported that in 2005 the state Supreme Court issued a ruling that said “Supersession must occur when the Governor requests it, and the Governor has wide discretion in the exercise of that power," including if it is “in furtherance of the interests of the state.”

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