Christie Pardons Sex Worker, Drug Users, Ex-Cop Before Christmas
Gov. Chris Christie pardoned a police officer who forfeited his job after he admitted giving confidential law enforcement data to a neighbor.
The pardon of former Mount Olive officer Ryan Eastridge was one of ten announced Friday by Christie's office.
Most of the others pardoned by Christie had been convicted of drug or gun crimes.
One exception was Joseph Michael Longo, who was sentenced to 24 months of probation last year after pleading guilty to four counts of tampering with public records or information.
Details about the crime, which had been prosecuted by the Attorney General's Office, were not immediately available Friday. Christie's office did not release an explanation for the pardons.
Longo was represented in court by Jeffrey Chiesa, the former state attorney general who Christie appointed to the U.S. Senate in 2013 after Frank Lautenberg died. It was not clear if Longo was related to the family behind Longo Electrical-Mechanical, a government contractor in New Jersey that has contributed thousands of dollars to Christie's political accounts.
Neither Chiesa, Longo nor a company representative could be reached for comment Friday afternoon.
Eastridge had served on the force for seven years before he pleaded guilty in July 2014 to an obstruction charge.
Officials say he accessed a National Crime Information Center database as a favor to a neighbor who wanted to know if there was an arrest warrant for one of his employees.
Christie has issued 27 pardons and two commutations of sentences during his two terms in office.
Also pardoned on Friday:
— Tracy D. Syphax, who was convicted on a Jan. 13, 1981, charge of two counts of drug possession in Mercer County; an Aug. 2, 1981, charge of unsworn falsification to authorities in Ewing; an Aug. 3, 1981, charge of possession with intent to distribute in Mercer County; a Sept. 23, 1981, charge of drug possession; a May 14, 1984, drug possession charge; a May 17, 1988, charge of manufacturing, distribution, dispensing of a drug; and a Feb. 13, 1989, charge of unlawful possession of a weapon.
— Shakita Renee Wilson, who was convicted in Atlantic County on an Aug. 1, 2010, charge of unlawful possession of a handgun.
— Edward S. Goodwin, who was convicted in Burlington County on an Aug. 11, 2013, charge of unlawful possession of a handgun.
— Allan A. Thompson, who was convicted in Bergen County on a June 14, 2012, unlawful possession of a handgun charge.
— Melissa Joy Niles, who was convicted in Cumberland County on an April 3, 2001, charge of engaging in prostitution in Vineland; and an April 12, 2001, charge of distribution of drugs within 1,000 feet of school property.
— Alexander Stinson Holt, who was convicted in Camden County on a May 9, 2011, charge of manufacturing, distribution or dispensing of drugs.
— Michael Forte, who was convicted in Bergen County on an Aug. 8, 1985, charge of possession of drugs; and convicted in Morris County on an April 8, 1999, theft charge.
— Stephen M. Eastwood, who was convicted in Hunterdon County on a Dec. 18, 2006, possession of drug charge, and a Feb. 6, 2008, charge of manufacturing, distributing, dispensing of drugs; and convicted of Newark drug loitering charges from March 28, 2007, and Dec 17, 2007.