Maraziti, who represented the city last year as it moved forward with a plan to rehabilitate a section in the northwest of town, is now free to speak openly about any knowledge he has relating to Zimmer's allegations against the governor's top aides. The resolution waiving the privilege passed by a 7-1-1 vote. Second Ward Councilwoman Beth Mason, a political opponent of Zimmer, voted against it, while 1st Ward Councilman Theresa Castellano abstained.
In January, the mayor alleged that three high-ranking Christie officials, including Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, implied that the city might get more Hurricane Sandy aid if Zimmer helped expedite a private development project with ties to a close Christie friend. Reports have stated that in the next few months, Zimmer told five people about the conversation, one of whom may have been Maraziti.
It was still unclear Wednesday night why Maraziti would not have advised Zimmer to take the matter to the authorities last year.
The resolution states that Maraziti will now be free to speak to the U.S. Attorney and the state legislature regarding the independent investigations being conducted by both.
Despite voting in favor of the resolution, 3rd Ward Councilman Michael Russo blasted Zimmer's administration for keeping the council "in the dark" about the substance of Maraziti's potential testimony. Mason and Castellano both echoed Russo's statements.
Councilman-at-Large David Mello, one of the people Zimmer told about her alleged conversation with Guadagno prior to going public, said the step was an important one for the city in order to show that it "in no way is obstructing the progress of a neutral investigation."
It is unclear if the administration's decision to relieve Maraziti of his attorney-client privilege, which first came to light on MSNBC last weekend, is a reaction to the recent publication of a Christie-funded report that concluded the mayor's allegations were "demonstrably false." -- Dean DeChiaro