James Devine, a political consultant who was charged last month with three counts of election fraud for filing false petitions, is seeking admittance into the Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI) program, which would result in the charges being dropped after a year of good behavior.
But the state attorney general’s office, who is prosecuting him, says they have not recommended PTI for Devine. (Devine contested this, telling the New Jersey Globe after this story was initially published that the attorney general is not opposing PTI.)
Devine’s pre-indictment conference was scheduled for today, but it has now been pushed back to July 27. His public defender said today that he was set to get PTI.
During the 2021 gubernatorial election, Devine filed 1,948 fraudulent signatures to get his life partner Lisa McCormick on the Democratic primary ballot. McCormick was tossed off the ballot after a judge determined the petitions to be “fraudulently created without any input from actual voters,” and the matter was referred to the attorney general’s office by Secretary of State Tahesha Way.
Devine insists that the problems with the petitions were an innocent mistake – “I fucked up, and so it’s going to slow me down; I’ll try not to fuck up any more,” he told the New Jersey Globe – and that the charges against him were politically motivated.
“There’s absolutely no doubt that much of the political establishment in New Jersey thinks that I’m a pain in the ass,” Devine said.
Devine has a long history in New Jersey Democratic politics dating back to the 1980s, and has often drawn controversy for his wily and sometimes law-skirting campaign tactics. He also served a stint as the political director of the state Democratic Party in the 1990s, when then-ally Ray Lesniak was party chairman.
Even with the charges against him, Devine remains involved in politics, confirming that he is indeed working on primary elections this cycle. Asked which campaigns he was working with, he declined to say.
This story was updated at 3:57 p.m. with a response from Devine on the AG’s PTI position.