Former Attorney General Farber misses court date

Former Attorney General Farber misses court date
September 29, 2006 Star-Ledger

A municipal prosecutor may ask a judge to cite former Attorney General Zulima Farber for contempt of court after she failed to appear today as a witness in a traffic case against her boyfriend, Hamlet Goore.

The case stems from the now-infamous Memorial Day weekend traffic stop in Bergen County in which Farber went to the aid of Goore after he was ticketed for driving on a suspended license. The incident ultimately led to Farber's resignation last month when a special prosecutor found she had violated state ethics rules by going to the scene.

At the time of her resignation, Farber said she planned to take a vacation and put the whole thing behind her. That vacation took her to Mexico " where she and Goore were today when they were scheduled to be in court.

Goore was to appear in the Bergen County Central Municipal Court for a trial on the ticket and Farber was required to attend after being served a subpoena last month by Municipal Court Prosecutor Andrew Samson. The hearing went on without them " and the ticket was dismissed " but that may not be the end of it.

"She completely thumbed her nose at my subpoena and her boyfriend, Hamlet Goore, thumbed his nose at the court by not appearing," Samson said. "I may be seeking sanctions (against Farber). I haven't deliberated carefully, but I am going to consider it."

Samson said he issued Farber the subpoena Aug. 17 at her office in the Hughes Justice Complex in Trenton because she could provide direct testimony about what occurred at the scene.

"I wanted her there for testimony related to the trial," the prosecutor said. "Who better to ask than a person who was there at the scene and who has some knowledge about the status of his driving privileges."

Farber's attorney, Gerald Krovatin, said he was not aware Farber was required to appear in court today. "I would have expected that anyone who wanted to serve her with a subpoena or wanted to simply ask me in good faith to have her appear in court would have contacted me," Krovatin said. "I just question what's really going on here."

Bergen County Municipal Court Assignment Judge Roy F. McGeady meanwhile ordered Goore to appear before him next Friday to explain why he should not be held in contempt of court.

Attorney Steven L. Menaker, who represents Goore, said he had previously tried to get today's hearing adjourned because Goore and Farber had prepaid tickets to Mexico, but McGeady denied the request. Menaker then appealed the decision, but the ruling denying the appeal was not issued until yesterday.

Asked whether Goore and Farber knew they might miss the hearing if the appeal was denied, Menaker said, "I would never presume to speak for anyone else."

This is not the first time Farber has missed a traffic court appearance. Farber, who has been cited for 14 traffic violations since 1979, has had four bench warrants sworn out in her name for failure to appear in court.

Despite the absense of Farber and Goore, McGeady proceeded with a motion filed by Goore's attorney to dismiss the case because Goore had paid to have his license restored a year before the stop. After testimony from a Motor Vehicle Commission employee, McGeady dismissed the ticket.

"The underlying case is over," McGeady said. "What happens in the aftermath is to be decided."

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