On January 3, 2024, the New Jersey Globe reported that sanctions were being sought against the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office of Public Integrity and Accountability and three of its top lawyers. This came after allegations of prosecutorial misconduct during the prosecution of Michael Falkowski by Deputy Attorney General John Nicodemo.
Falkowski faced charges for using his position as a remote contract administrator for an Atlantic County charter school to award a furniture contract to a board member. His attorney, former federal prosecutor William Hughes, alleged that Nicodemo presented false testimony and withheld exculpatory evidence from grand jurors. Hughes demanded that Superior Court Judge Donna Taylor sanction the state’s Office of Public Integrity and Accountability (OPIA) and director Tom Eicher, deputy director Peter Lee, and deputy attorney general Max Lesser for their roles.
Hughes claimed in court filings that the indictment against Falkowski was “frivolous and presented in bad faith” due to “multiple intentional misrepresentations, as well as a failure to present clearly exculpatory evidence to the grand jury.”
Specifically, Hughes asserted that Nicodemo “intentionally and purposely edited and presented a document and testimony to the grand jury concealing a key section of the applicable statute” and “elicited explicitly false testimony from a State Police detective.” Hughes argued these officials should be held accountable under a New Jersey court rule.
Hughes sent the OPIA a letter in November requesting charges be dropped, but they did not act within the allotted period. This prompted Hughes to ask the court to sanction the prosecutors formally.
The complaint stems from a larger pattern of accusations against Nicodemo. Previously, a judge ordered a re-trial after ruling Nicodemo withheld key evidence in that prosecution. This new bid aims to penalize officials if wrongdoing contributed to charges against Falkowski.
Source: New Jersey Globe