Skip to comments.N.J. Sen. Torricelli to Testify
Posted on 07/21/2002 11:39:05 PM PDT by Ready2go
WASHINGTON -- Sen. Robert Torricelli will testify under oath to the Senate ethics committee in its investigation of allegations he accepted gifts from a New Jersey businessman in return for official favors.
The closed-door appearance Monday will mark the first time the New Jersey Democrat will answer committee questions regarding allegations made by now-jailed businessman David Chang.
In January, the U.S. attorney's office in New York dropped its criminal investigation of Torricelli's finances, his fund-raising practices and his relationship with Chang, and referred the matter to the Senate ethics panel.
Torricelli, up for re-election in November, denies the allegations.
Torricelli said in a prepared statement he is "fully cooperating and expects it to result in a successful conclusion."
Sources familiar with the probe confirmed to The Associated Press that the questioning will be under oath, held in private and handled by committee lawyers rather than any of the panel's six Senate members.
Victor Baird, the committee's counsel, would not confirm or deny Torricelli's planned appearance. Baird said under committee rules, "depositions are closed, as is the entire evidence-gathering process."
Chang, 59, pleaded guilty in June 2000 to obstructing justice and funneling $53,700 in illegal donations to Torricelli's 1996 Senate campaign. He had been cooperating with prosecutors and seeking leniency but early this year was sentenced to 18 months in prison.
Chang told prosecutors he gave the senator cash, Italian suits, antiques and other expensive gifts. In return, he said, Torricelli was to have helped in Chang's eventually unsuccessful effort to recoup more than $70 million he was owed by the North Korean government for grain shipments and in an ill-fated effort to purchase a South Korean insurance company.
Debra DeShong, Torricelli's press secretary, said it is "hard to believe that anyone would take anything that David Chang said seriously."
"He is now a convicted felon and someone who admitted to suborning perjury and obstructing justice," said DeShong. "All of these allegations have been thoroughly investigated to the point of exhaustion. It is time to accept the allegations are not true and bring this entire matter to a close."
Torricelli's name came up in Richard Detore testimony for James Traficant....
Torricelli received $136,000.worth of jewelry for his girlfriend.
Patrick Kennedy was mentioned too.
I don't think oaths have meaning for certain politicians.
You don't think the NJ papers are trying to keep Torricelli's crimes away from the voters do you?