Rockaway Township Cop Tried To Influence Two DWI Tickets
A Morris County assistant prosecutor said that 35-year-old Clifton Gauthier, a Rockaway Township police officer, charged for attempting to get a charge dismissed for his cousin, had previously attempted to do something like that for his uncle.
The incident happened on 9th of February, 2012, and the cop faces charges of official misconduct and witness tampering in relation to his alleged efforts on behalf of his cousin, Sean Costigan, who faced a DWI charge in Rockaway Township Municipal Court.
Assistant Prosecutor Sahil Kabse told that almost 2 weeks before, on 25th of January 2012, Gauthier had attempted to intervene on behalf of an uncle, Edward Garneau, who was also charged with DWI.
On Wednesday, a motion was filed by Kabse in Superior Court in Morristown seeking permission to give information of the Garneau incident as a “prior bad act” that would be “relevant” as proof in Gauthier’s case. Kabse requested that a hearing on his motion be held on 18th of December.
On 23rd of November 2011, Garneau was taken into custody in Rockaway Township for allegedly driving under the influence. On 25th of January 2012, Denis Driscoll, who was then the Rockaway Township municipal prosecutor, was talking to the arresting officers in Garneau’s case.
According to Kabse, Gauthier “came to municipal court and interrupted their conversation in an attempt to speak to Driscoll about his uncle’s case”. Driscoll ‘kept putting off’ Gauthier’s attempts to speak to him and at some point the arresting officers told Driscoll of the “familial relationship” between Garneau and Gauthier. Driscoll told Gauthier, “He should know better”.
Upon Driscoll’s request, the case was transferred to Morristown Municipal Court, where Garneau entered a guilty plea.
Kabse told that in Costigan’s case, Gauthier contacted the arresting state trooper, Nagib Saad and told him he did not have to appear in court in the case, based on information he said he had received from Driscoll. For verification, Saad called Driscoll who said “he did not speak” to Gauthier and was “not aware of any reason” for the trooper not to appear in court. Driscoll then contacted Gauthier, who said it was “misunderstanding” based on information that had been given to him by his then-defense lawyer.
In his motion to use the information in Gauthier’s case, Kabse said, “evidence of other crimes is admissible to show motive, opportunities, preparations, plan … when those matters are relevant to a material issue in dispute”.
Gauthier’s efforts to intervene on behalf of his uncle made it clear that his attempt to assist his cousin was not “a misunderstanding or mistake”.
News Source: www.DailyRecord.com