Assemblyman Sentencing Postponed

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TRENTON –The sentencing of former Assemblyman Neil Cohen was adjourned at the defendant’s request and rescheduled for Aug. 13 at 9 a.m. before Superior Court Judge Gerald Council in Trenton.

Cohen pleaded guilty to child-porn charges on April 12, following months of negotiations on an agreement to avoid a public trial.

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Former Attorney General Anne Milgram originally wanted Cohen to admit official misconduct, which carries a minimum five-year sentence, while defense attorneys Mark Touhey and Daniel McCarthy wanted Cohen to face only probation.

“Under New Jersey law if there is a conviction of a second degree crime there is a presumption of prison time,” said Peter Aseltine, who noted that the judge cannot go beyond the five years promised under a plea agreement but he could set a lower term of imprisonment.

When he originally scheduled sentencing for July 12, the judge told Cohen to “be prepared” to go to prison. “Please get your affairs in order,” he said.

Cohen admitted to using a taxpayer-funded computer, at the Union Township legislative office he shared with Sen. Raymond Lesniak and Assemblyman Joseph Cryan, to view and print photos of an underage girl in various stages of nudity.

Cohen also admitted to placing the printed images in the desk drawer of a female receptionist.

Cohen resigned from the Assembly in July 2008, ending a 17-year career in Trenton, and he was indicted five months later.

“He just lived and breathed compassion in everything he did,” Lesniak said of Cohen’s work as a lawmaker. “That’s something we should not lose sight of.”


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