State attorney general says rooting out corruption takes time

State attorney general says rooting out corruption takes time

11/16/06 Asbury Park Press

State Attorney General Stuart Rabner, who has promised to slay the public-corruption dragon, on Wednesday revealed his view of how to snare such targets: "You catch a lot of frogs before you've got a prince."

Rabner, seven weeks and a day into his job, told reporters that indicting public officials takes time, with good and not-so-good leads, followed by investigations and eventual cases.

And he said such prosecutions also require some measure of luck.

"We are taking these steps," Rabner said, noting he has asked State Police commanders to make it policy to ask suspects, as well as current sources, for leads to wayward public officials.

"As soon as I have cases," he answered when asked how soon taxpayers will see evidence that he is indeed stalking rascals.

"I would like nothing more than to announce investigations," he said.

Rabner got the state's top law-enforcement job after Gov. Corzine's first attorney general, Zulima V. Farber, quit after a report from an independent prosecutor criticized her for rushing to a traffic stop involving her boyfriend.

Rabner, a former federal prosecutor, was serving at the time as Corzine's chief counsel.

Rabner refused, as prosecutors almost always do, to discuss details of investigations, be they of al-Qaida in New Jersey or state Sen. Wayne R. Bryant, D-Camden, whose apparent low-show job at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey has been called into question.

Rabner, a Harvard-educated prosecutor, stressed that street gangs are a "staggering" issue, noting the estimated 17,000 gang members in 2004 represented a doubling of that number in two years.

"New Jersey, regrettably, has attracted all of the notorious gangs," Rabner said.

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