An excerpt:

The Jersey Sting
Ted Sherman and Josh Margolin
Perp Walk

Chapter One

Everyone in New Jersey was arrested today …


Star-Ledger photographs © The Star-Ledger, Newark

It began in the early-morning hours of Thursday, July 23, 2009.

On a warm day that would turn overcast with scattered rain, climbing to near 80 degrees in the summer humidity, more than 300 FBI and other federal agents were in position across the metropolitan area well before the crack of dawn. Deployed from Brooklyn and Jersey City to the wealthy beachfront enclave of Deal along the Jersey Shore, it was an invasion force about to execute a coordinated assault of military-style precision, a takedown that would shatter New Jersey’s political landscape and reach all the way into the governor’s office, while tearing apart an insular Orthodox religious community that had long shunned outsiders.

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For nearly three years, the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s office had been trolling for corruption in one of the nation’s most corrupt states, and this was D-day. It was all about to come down.
Some news organizations had already been tipped off that “something big” was going to happen. In the second-floor newsroom of The Star-Ledger—New Jersey’s largest newspaper—editors were deploying their own army of staff, mostly operating on educated guesswork and cryptic conversations with sources on just where to send them. They knew there were going to be some high-profile arrests and that it was going to be big, but they had no idea just how crazy it was about to get. Something about political corruption and a Brooklyn rabbi, sources had suggested, in a state already well known for its scandals.

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New Jersey, after all, was where its governor had resigned after announcing one day that he was gay, and had put his male lover in a sensitive security post for which the guy was wildly unqualified. It was the state where the mayor of its largest city was currently in federal prison for steering lucrative land deals to a woman with whom he had been having a torrid extramarital affair. Where the powerful head of the state senate’s finance committee was in prison as well, for steering millions in public funding to the medical university that had given him what prosecutors called a no-show job. A state where a leading Republican candidate for U.S. Senate would go to jail after disdaining a federal inquiry into his election financing, declaring to an informant—who unfortunately for him was wearing a wire at the time—that the heavyset U.S. Attorney pursuing him was just “a fat fuck who knew more about cookbooks than law books…” Where more than 200 people had been arrested in recent years on corruption charges large and small, from county executives and freeholders to mayors and legislators and, of course, a couple of backroom political bosses.

Even those who were about to get arrested that morning did not seem to have a clue they would be the next stars of that classic New Jersey ritual: the televised “perp walk.”
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