– New Jersey’s top prosecutor referenced in senator’s indictment
– His conduct praised, but possible scrutiny awaits
New Jersey’s US attorney could face scrutiny over what Manhattan federal prosecutors indicting Robert Menendez said were his communications with the Democratic senator and an adviser during the vetting for the job.
Philip Sellinger isn’t accused of any wrongdoing in the Menendez bribery charges unveiled Sept. 22. The indictment describes Sellinger insulating staff from Menendez’s attempts to get his office to apply leniency in its bank fraud prosecution against the senator’s friend—real estate developer Fred Daibes, who allegedly was bribing the lawmaker.
Nevertheless, multiple former prosecutors and other attorneys who spoke with Bloomberg Law said the indictment leaves questions about what exactly Sellinger said when a Menendez adviser sought assurances about his ability, if selected as US attorney, to avoid recusal from the Daibes matter—a case from which he was ultimately recused anyway.