If you’re trying to curry favor with your high-profile boss, it’s probably not a good idea to drop his or her name in the hope of evading arrest for a crime. Yet this is just what one of Gov. Chris Christie’s bodyguards recently did. The bodyguard, a 35-year-old New Jersey state trooper who had been assigned to the controversial politician’s security detail, was reportedly caught shoplifting at a Hamburg, Pennsylvania, hunting gear store. He was said to be in possession of $268 in merchandise, which included handgun grips, a hat and a pistol magazine. Some of these items were found stashed in his pockets. According to the responding officer’s complaint, he had also switched a $29.99 binocular strap into a cheaper product box.
Upon arrest, the disgraced North Brunswick cop tried to evade punishment by explaining that he worked for Gov. Christie’s security detail. The arresting officers were not impressed. He was charged with two counts of retail theft and suspended from his job. One of the theft charges is a misdemeanor offense, which could land him behind bars for five years. Through his attorney, the man denied the theft charges as well as the allegation that he had requested special treatment. His attorney claims that he is innocent, and also makes it clear that whatever occurred in the Pennsylvania store has little relevance to his duties with the New Jersey State Police.
If this state trooper insists upon his innocence, his attorney will need to help prove this during the trial. Store surveillance cameras and witness testimonies may prove invaluable to this end. While having a high-profile job with a leading politician does not excuse him from following the law, any defamation of his character can be especially far-reaching, especially in light of the recent Bridgegate scandal, which is still being investigated.
Regardless of whether the man is guilty or innocent, this particular case can have far-reaching implications. If he is innocent, his attorney will focus on proving this during the trial. If he is proven guilty, his attorney may try to reduce his sentence based on various factors, including whether this is his first offense. The attorney will also help remind the jury to remain objective, despite their political sentiments.