In the early morning hours of June 17, 2006, Healy was arrested in the shore town of Bradley Beach for allegedly interfering in a police investigation of a domestic dispute a block away from a tavern owned by Healy's brother-in-law.
Healy has said he was trying to break up a fight.
The legal documents, recently obtained by former state Assemblyman Louis Manzo, include testimony from Bradley Beach police officers who claimed under oath to a grand jury in November and December 2006 that Healy tried to get them to drop their charges against him by citing his position as mayor of Jersey City. They also said Healy said he was a friend of Bradley Beach Police Chief Leonard Guida. Healy denies those accusations.
However, one of those police officers was, at the time of his testimony, being sued by Healy for allegedly roughing Healy up during the arrest.
The grand jury testimony was ruled inadmissible by the judge as irrelevant during Healy's June 2007 trial, where he was eventually found guilty of resisting arrest and obstruction of justice.
Now, Manzo is using this testimony as a means to have Healy removed from his job. Manzo filed papers last week in Monmouth County Superior Court for a judicial hearing to determine if Healy should forfeit his position.
Political observers see this as Manzo looking to eliminate a potential foe in the 2009 mayoral election. Manzo has not said he will run for mayor. He has said that he may support one of Healy's opponents.
Reactions to this sad episode for Healy have not just been on the printed page, but also in the public eye, as evident at a special City Council meeting on Sept. 3.
At that meeting, Newport resident Dan Falcon railed against Healy based on the recent revelations in the press, saying he should "resign."
City Councilman Peter Brennan, a Healy ally, defended the mayor's actions at Bradley Beach by saying Healy was just being helpful and "getting involved" in solving a dispute.
Healy commented in the media recently that it was "untrue" that he made any comments to an officer about his position on the night of his arrest. And Healy's attorney has said the officers' testimony is contradictory.Swept under the rug?
"En route to the police station, Mayor Healy told officer Browning, 'Do yourself a favor and get your chief down here before this goes any further, because I can't believe you don't know who I am.'
"As Officer Browning escorted him to headquarters, Mayor Healy continued with the same topic; he said, 'Do yourself a favor, call the chief. We need to handle this without charges.' The mayor suggested the matter be 'swept under the rug.'"
Those are excerpts from Bradley Beach Police Officer Terry Browning's testimony to the grand jury in November and December 2006.
The grand jury testimony occurred after Healy filed a lawsuit against Browning claiming Browning roughed up Healy and his wife Maureen while arresting them. These excerpts are just a sample of the damning quotes from Browning, contained in a brief by Monmouth County Prosecutor Luis Valentin to Monmouth County Judge Lawrence Lawson in May 2007. Charges against Browning were dismissed by a grand jury in December 2006.
This brief also included testimony from Jeff Barnes and Jacqueline Volante, the arguing couple. They also told the grand jury that Healy interfered with the investigation.
Manzo said in an interview last week that he started seeking documents on the Bradley Beach trial after a decision was handed down in New Jersey Superior Court last month in a case involving Newark City Councilwoman Dana Rone, removing her from the council for abusing her position while threatening a Rutgers University-Newark police officer. Manzo is using this case as an example of how it is possible to unseat a sitting mayor by state statute that calls for anyone holding public office convicted of an offense that "touches" upon his/her office.
Manzo denied he is pursuing the ousting of Healy because of any mayoral ambitions. He said he is seeking "justice." Manzo also said all he wants is "his day in court" on whether Healy should leave office. Attorney debunks comments
Phillip Matsikoudis is one of three attorneys retained by Healy in his Bradley Beach case, with Matsikoudis working on Healy's appeal of his conviction, which is now going to the state Supreme Court.
Matsikoudis was not the attorney in Healy's June 2007 trial, but claimed he has read through the transcripts from Healy's June 2007 trial twice, with some sections of the transcripts read about 10 times.
Matsikoudis pointed out in a phone interview that Browning's comments to the grand jury in 2006 should be scrutinized in light of what Matsikoudis saw as Browning's "contradictory" testimony during Healy's June 2007 trial.
He also asked, "Why didn't [the officers] do something then if he was doing that then, if he was obstructing the law by using his office?"
Not surprisingly, Matsikoudis doesn't believe the Healy case is similar to the Rone case. Also, according to Matsikoudis, the incident did not happen in the mayor's jurisdiction, and the mayor did not have any official power.
Matsikoudis also expressed surprise that testimony from the grand jury proceedings was released to the public, saying it is supposed to be "secret." Comments on this story can be sent to email@example.com.