JERSEY CITY -- A Jersey City police officer charged in a 100-count indictment with three fellow officers has agreed to testify for the state against his co-defendants, who are charged with offenses related to falsifying time sheets.
In court today, defense attorney Jeff Garrigan said Officer Michael Maietti has given a 151-page statement to prosecutors and is expected to testify for the state in the trial of Lt. Kelly Chesler and Police Officer Michael O'Neill and retired Capt. Joseph Ascolese.
All four officers were suspended without pay following their indictment on charges related to related to off-duty details, including conspiracy, falsifying records, official misconduct and a pattern of official misconduct.
Garrigan, who represents Chesler, held up the thick transcript of Maietti's statement at today's hearing before Hudson County Superior Court Judge Mirtha Ospina and asked for a 60-day adjournment in light of the new information.
"How am I supposed to pick a jury when my client doesn't know all the evidence against her," said Garrigan.
Garrigan called Maietti's agreement to testify "a significant event" that would require the defense to obtain additional documents referenced in his statement and to conduct additional investigation prior to trial.
Jury selection for the trial was to begin tomorrow and testimony was to begin on Jan. 2. Hudson County Assistant Prosecutor Pete Stoma did not object to the request for an adjournment.
Ospina told the defense attorneys to seek permission for an adjournment from Hudson County Superior Court Acting Presiding Criminal Division Judge Paul DePascale.
In his argument for the adjournment, Garrigan said "We are going to pick a jury tomorrow and I don't even know the jury I want... Obviously, there is a lot to be done."
At today's hearing, O'Neill's lawyer argued that his client should be tried separately. He said, in part, that O'Neill's co-defendants could provide exculpatory evidence related to his client, but he could not call them to the witness stand if the three were being tried together. Ospina denied the motion.
Garrigan also said he was representing another Jersey City police officer, who is a potential witness in the case, in an unrelated matter. He said that may represent a conflict and he would need some time to assess the issue.
In the deal that led Maietti to turn state's evidence, he would be allowed to enter the pretrial trial intervention program, according to statements in court today.
PTI provides a route for first-time offenders to undergo a period of supervised release. If the defendant fulfills their obligations in the program, the charges are wiped from the their record....Read more