Charges expected in trooper escort case

July 26, 2012 3:38:16 PM PDT
A New Jersey state trooper who was suspended after escorting a high-speed caravan of luxury sports cars down the Garden State Parkway last spring has resigned from the force and expects to be charged with a crime, his lawyer said Thursday.

State Police Sgt. Nadir Nassry, who was suspended without pay and requested retirement after the March 30 escort, could face charges related to the alleged taping of license plates on the sports cars during the caravan, his attorney, Charles Sciarra, said at a press conference held at his Clifton office.

The former state trooper previously admitted the caravan was speeding and acknowledged poor judgment, Sciarra said, but he denied knowing anything about license plates being taped over on the luxury cars to conceal them.

"The suggestion that this was somehow done in a manner trying to hide something is like putting a wig on Godzilla," Sciarra said, adding that his client was not trying to hide anything by escorting luxury vehicles down the highway with lights flashing. "What were they trying to hide in any way, shape or form engaging in this?"

Attorney general spokesman Paul Loriquet declined to say if charges would be filed, saying that the attorney general was planning to discuss the case at a Friday press conference and release new guidelines for police escorts. A second incident involving a police-escorted caravan, in 2010, is also being investigated.

The spring escort ended Nassry's otherwise exemplary 26-year career, Sciarra said, adding that the former trooper shouldn't have to forfeit his pension for one instance of poor judgment.

"I fully realize this matter has caused my superiors significant embarrassment and also has impacted the trust that the public has with regard to the great character of the New Jersey State Police. For this, I must take responsibility," Nassry wrote in a form requesting special service retirement that his lawyer distributed Thursday to the media.

State Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa suspended Nassry and Trooper Joseph Ventrella, a six-year veteran, without pay in April after news reports recounted witnesses who said they saw the caravan of high-performance luxury cars, escorted by two state police vehicles, traveling down the parkway at speeds over 100 mph, weaving in traffic, and alarming other motorists.

Sciarra said Nassry agreed to participate in the escort because of his friendship with former New York Giants running back Brandon Jacobs, a fan of high-performance cars who Sciarra said was in the caravan. Nassry knows Jacobs through charity functions, the lawyer said. Sciarra said charitable organizations routinely ask and receive escorts from the State Police to and from various charitable functions.

However, it was not immediately clear whether the March trip was connected to a charitable event.

Ventrella could not be reached for comment Thursday.

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