.

Moriarty: 'I Had Not Been Drinking'

Three Washington Township police officers allege in official reports the smell of an alcoholic beverage emanated from state Assemblyman Paul Moriarty shortly after he was pulled over and arrested July 31.

 

State Assemblyman Paul Moriarty has repeatedly claimed he was framed by a Washington Township police officer since his drunken-driving arrest on July 31, 2012.

"I had not been drinking. I was driving safely and appropriately," Moriarty said Friday afternoon in his first statement to Patch since his arrest. "Watch the video. The tape doesn't lie."

In addition to the arresting officer, at least two other officers signed investigative reports in which they indicate they smelled alcohol in the police station room where the Democratic assemblyman and former Washington Township mayor was processed on the DWI charge, according to documents the Gloucester County municipality released to Patch Media Corp. last week.

Moriarty can be overheard on a police dashboard-camera video denying on at least four occasions that he had consumed any alcoholic beverages prior to being pulled over and arrested by Officer Joseph DiBuonaventura—a denial he reportedly offered again at the police station.

Cpl. Nick Myers, who assisted DiBuonaventura at the police station, notes in his supplementary investigation report dated July 31 that he "detected the faint odor of an alcoholic beverage in the processing area."

Ptl. Michael Kurz notes in a supplementary investigation report dated Aug. 1 that he "immediately detected an odor of an alcoholic beverage" upon entering the main processing room, where Moriarty was detained at the time, in order to retrieve paperwork. He adds in his brief report that he "did not see any other prisoners in either of the holding cells or on the security bench."

DiBuonaventura told Moriarty at the scene he smelled alcohol on his breath.

"When you rolled the window down, as soon as you started talking, I could smell alcohol on your breath," he said.

'No consumption of alcohol that day'

Moriarty's attorney, John Eastlack Jr., asserted on Friday that the officer who was called in to administer Moriarty the Alcotest—a blood-alcohol content test the assemblyman is charged with refusing to take—has indicated he did not smell alcohol on the former Washington Township mayor's breath.

"There's no type of report from him, but we may have other information," Eastlack said of Cpl. Preston Forchion.

Eastlack nor Moriarty would speculate as to why other officers would support DiBuonaventura's claim Moriarty had alcohol on his breath.

"We've just said what we absolutely know is the truth, which is that there was no consumption of alcohol that day, or for 24 hours before, by Mr. Moriarty at all. There just wasn't any," he said. "So, for anybody to indicate that he thought that he smelled something or thought that there was some consumption that they thought they could detect odor-wise...don't know where that comes from. Can't know. You can't get in somebody else's mind as to why they would say something. Whether it's to support another officer..."

Documents released by Washington Township to Patch Media Corp. on Dec. 28 revealed it was a tip from a Washington Township detective's cousin that led to Moriarty's arrest.

Those documents contain contradictory statements by DiBuonaventura, who is suspended without pay, and other Washington Township police officers regarding what was said during a series of phone calls that appear to have led DiBuonaventura to track down Moriarty on the Black Horse Pike.

(To view a copy of DiBuounaventura's arrest report for Moriarty, click on the PDF above.)

DiBuonaventura claims Det. Lisa Frattali made a second phone call to his cell phone the afternoon of July 31 in which she noted Moriarty had just left the Turnersville Nissan dealership "smashed."

Frattali writes in her report that she initially called DiBuonaventura to discuss an unrelated investigation and "jokingly" referenced that she overhead a fellow detective "talking to someone on the phone about Moriarty being drunk at Nissan." She added the second call was to inform DiBuonaventura she had "limited information and only overheard that one thing from Det. (Martin) Calvello and that I didn't know what was going on."

Fratalli's father, Albert, is a former Democratic Washington Township councilman. He was defeated in his first council run in the 2004 Democratic primary by Moriarty's slate in a bitter campaign. He ran again in 2006, against a Moriarty-supported Democratic slate, and won. Albert Fratalli is a member of the Delaware River Port Authority (DRPA) board of directors. 

Calvello's father-in-law is John Rogale, a former GOP Washington Township councilman and political operative who works as labor-contract director for the DRPA, serving as right-hand man to John Matheuessen, the agency's chief executive officer. Matheussen is a former GOP state senator from Washington Township. 

And, Moriarty called on a political ally to pick him up at the police station after he was arrested: Robert Timmons, a Moriarty running mate and former Democratic township councilman. 

Contradictions in the reports

DiBuonaventura also appears to contradict himself in his arrest report. He wrote in the report, dated July 31, that Moriarty cut him off on Route 42, but, in the video he can be heard telling Moriarty he cut him off “coming out of the jug handle.”

Moriarty signed more than 20 complaints alleging official misconduct against DiBuonaventura in mid-October. A Cumberland County municipal court judge ruled probable cause existed on 13 of 27 complaints, and those complaints, which include official misconduct and false police reports, are being reviewed by the Gloucester County Prosecutor's Office.

The prosecutor's office is also looking into the assemblyman's DWI case.

In a dashboard-camera video from the police cruiser of the back-up officer on the July 31 Moriarty traffic stop, Officer Kevin Tarasevich is overheard telling someone on a phone call: "He's got Moriarty under arrest. 4-50. Yeah. So, he's doing a tow and he's bringing him in. Supposedly he's got alcohol on his breath, according to DiBo."

In a statement issued hours after his arrest, Moriarty pointed out that DiBuonaventura had been fired from Washington Township Police Department for "allegedly being untruthful" during an internal affairs investigation.

DiBuonaventura was fired in September 2009, after Moriarty's run as mayor, but was subsequently reinstated by a court ruling.

Patch Media Corp. sued Washington Township for the release of the video and other records sought by Gloucester Township Patch in its initial OPRA requests. A Superior Court judge ruled in favor of Patch on Dec. 14.

(Patch Regional Editor Tim Zatzariny Jr. contributed to this report.)

Ray Budden January 08, 2013 at 01:41 PM
Regardless of all the shenanigans, doesn't Moriarity get a DUI just for refusing to take the test? "Implied Consent" when you aplly for and receive you license in NJ correct? If he had nothing to drink, why did he refuse the test? Any misconduct on the part of the Officers doesn't discount Moriarity's guilt for not taking the test.
Christina Paciolla (Editor) January 08, 2013 at 05:48 PM
Ray—he was charged with refusing to take the test.
geo January 08, 2013 at 09:39 PM
Refuse and lose, as a driver he is wrong to do so. Citizens must obey police commands or suffer the consequence's whether there is suspected, implied guilt, or justified arrest. The same law applies to all, the court system is where the actual arguments take place. Like it or not, this is what we as Americans have made into law. While I agree there seems no logical reason for some arrests other than circumstantial evidence, in this case the gentleman involved should have taken the breathalyzer. Even those can be wrong, but if one is taken, you can insist upon the blood being drawn at a hospital, medical clinic, where competent, unbiased results can be used to submit to the court system.
Martin Siegel, Attorney at Law January 09, 2013 at 02:33 AM
Not necessarily.....Refusal to submit to a breath test is governed by N.J.S.A 39:4-50a and N.J.S.A. 39:4-50.2. To sustain a conviction for refusal under N.J.S.A. 39:4–50.4a(a), the State must prove each of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt: (1) the arresting officer had probable cause to believe that defendant had been driving or was in actual physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs; (2) defendant was arrested for driving while intoxicated; (3) the officer requested defendant to submit to a chemical breath test and informed defendant of the consequences of refusing to do so; and (4) defendant thereafter refused to submit to the test. In Mr. Moriarty's case, it seems like there is a good argument to be made that the officer not only didnt have probable cause to believe he had been operating under the influence, it seems likely that the officer had no probable cause to even pull him over. Lets not lose sight of the fact that this is America, not some dictatorial country. In America we are innocent until proven guilty.

Boards

More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »