TRENTON, N.J. - New Jersey's attorney general resigned Tuesday after a special
prosecutor concluded she violated state ethics laws by intervening in a traffic stop involving her boyfriend.
Zulima Farber, who will step down at the end of the month, said she was
leaving office "out of respect for the governor" and not because she was asked to do so.
"I admit to being human and making that error. I am truly sorry and apologize
to all New Jerseyans for that mistake," said Farber, who appeared at a Statehouse news conference alongside Gov. Jon S. Corzine.
Farber's live-in boyfriend, lawyer Hamlet Goore, was pulled over by police
in Fairview for a traffic violation in May, and Farber showed up at the scene in her state car. Goore's van was found to be
improperly registered and his license appeared to be suspended, but he was allowed to drive home.
In recent weeks, Farber denied doing anything to influence the police. But
a special prosecutor appointed by the governor said in a report issued Tuesday that Farber violated state ethics laws by "approving
actions which allowed Mr. Goore to drive his vehicle home."
"The attorney general knowingly acted to secure a benefit for Mr. Goore
that was violative of the motor vehicle laws and obviously not available to the general public," Richard J. Williams wrote
in his report.
Corzine met with Farber earlier in the day and asked her to decide whether
to resign. He said he accepted her resignation "with sadness and respect."
"She has decided to do more than would be ordinarily required for a lapse
in judgment," the governor said.
Corzine appointed Farber to the state's top law-enforcement post upon taking
office earlier this year. But in New Jersey, a governor can only remove an attorney general "for cause," a murky standard
in the opinion of some legal experts.
The governor said both he and Farber recognized that the report would impair
Farber's future effectiveness as attorney general.
Farber, appearing confident during her remarks to reporters, said she was
stepping down in the best interests of the state. The criticism of her actions would hurt her leadership ability, she said,
"and the people of New Jersey are more important than that fight."
Motor vehicle records show that Farber, 61, has had at least 12 speeding
tickets, four bench warrants issued for her arrest and three license suspensions.
The report renewed calls for the resignation of the New Jersey's first Hispanic
"She is incapable of leading the fight against official misconduct and abuse
of power because her conduct indicates that she does not even recognize what those things are," said state Republican chairman
Farber was born in Cuba and fled that country with her family while in her
teens. A partner in a law firm, she previously served in the administrations of two New Jersey governors. Among her specialties
is attorney ethics.