Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Reporter admits error, columnist struggles for relevance

This morning, an FBI spokesman in Newark said agents executed court-authorized search warrants at 248 Fairmount Ave. in Hackensack on Tuesday as part of "an ongoing investigation." He wouldn't say if any arrests were made.


Bridgegate trial reporter Dustin Racioppi finally corrects his story from last Thursday, when he reported the judge instructed jurors on the law at a closed meeting with lawyers the day before.

In The Record today, Racioppi now acknowledges the judge instructed the jury on the law and read the charges "before it broke for deliberation[s]" on Monday.

The reporter also says that on Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Susan D. Wigenton in Newark "sided with the prosecution in removing language" that the George Washington Bridge lane closures in 2013 were designed to punish Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich for not endorsing Governor Christie's reelection.

Jurors had sent out a note asking whether the defendants can be found guilty of conspiracy "without the act being intentionally punitive toward Mayor Sokolich."

Racioppi's error on jury instructions was compounded when it was picked up by both Paul Berger, the other reporter covering the trial, and Carl Golden, a Sunday columnist.

And in his own column, Editorial Page Editor Alfred P. Doblin reported incorrectly the trial is taking place at the federal courthouse in Trenton.

Incoherent columnist

Staff Writer John Cichowski, The Record's sorry excuse for a commuting columnist, continues to struggle for relevance.

Today, the so-called Road Warrior links "getting a commuter to divulge his favorite shortcut" to "getting a presidential candidate to talk about the contents of her email server" (L-1).

The cheap shot at Democrat Hillary Clinton isn't lost on readers, who question what the presidential race has to do with anything in his column.

On Sunday's Local front, a desperate Cichowski linked Halloween's "annual parade of witches, ghosts and goblins" to the "ghoulish bit of news" about a nationwide study on "the habits of  of young people as they cross streets in school zones."

Jeurys who?

About a third of today's front page is wasted on a news story and column about a pro baseball player who was arrested at his Fort Lee home "in connection with an alleged domestic assault" (A-1).

The column by Bob Klapisch begins:

"It was about 11 a.m. on Tuesday when I spoke to a high-ranking Mets official with the unfortunate news of Jeurys Familia's arrest in Fort Lee."

Does Klapisch mean "about" the news of the athlete's arrest?

This isn't inside baseball; this is inside the mind of a burned-out sports columnist.

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