Manslaughter Case Assumed by County Prosecutor
Robert Bianchi is handling the prosecution of Vanessa Brown, charged with killing Ralph Politi Jr. in alleged DWI crash in May.
The Morris County prosecutor has announced he is assuming the prosecution of another high-profile case, even though his five-year term was up in June.
Vanessa Brown, a Parsippany resident charged with manslaughter for allegedly killing an elected Board of Education official from East Hanover in a DWI crash in May, will be prosecuted by Morris County Prosecutor Robert Bianchi himself, according to a report by The Star-Ledger.
Bianchi told a judge Monday he is assuming the prosecution of the case after the assistant prosecutor who had been handling the case left for a job with a private firm. According to the report, Bianchi told the judge he has managed the prosecution from the start, has been in touch with the family of Ralph Politi Jr., the East Hanover businessman and Hanover Park Regional Board of Education member killed in the crash, and will work with another assistant prosecutor on the case.
Bianchi last week announced he was assuming the prosecution of defendant Michael Cassella, who was charged with vehiclular homicide for another alleged DWI crash that killed Mount Arlington Police Officer Joseph Wargo.
Bianchi is assuming the cases even though his term technically ended June 22. The New Jersey Senate Judiciary Committee has not yet considered Gov. Chris Christie's nominee for the next Morris County prosecutor, Fredric Knapp, who was nominated in June. The Judiciary Committee is scheduled to meet Thursday, but Knapp's nomination is not on the agenda.
Christie's deputy press secretary has said the governor "continues to fully support" Knapp, a founding member of the law firm Knapp, Trimboli & Prusinowski in Florham Park, "and hopes he will receive a fair, open hearing and an up or down vote."
According to the Star-Ledger, a status conference on the case against Brown is scheduled for the end of January, and likely will be followed by hearings on whether Brown's record and statements she made to police can be used as evidence.