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Jon Bramnick is taking responsibility for the content of his law firm’s website.
The Assembly minority leader on Tuesday declined to name the outside firm that he said wrote the content of several pages advertising his law firm’s criminal defense practices that have drawn fire from Democrats and advocates for sexual assault victims, saying the blame rested with him for not making sure the pages were properly checked before being pushed live.
“My criminal division of the firm didn’t see it. When I saw it, I took it down, but I don’t blame them. I’m not going throw them under the bus,” Bramnick said. “I take responsibility as the senior partner in the firm, but to give out the name of a private firm that might have written it improperly, I still have the responsibility to look at it.”
Bramnick also declined to name the attorneys responsible for checking the pages, saying essentially that the buck stopped with him.
Among other things, the law firm’s website said it would seek to discredit sexual assault accusers.
Since the New Jersey Globe first broke the story about the website’s wording, Bramnick’s firm has pulled pages for at least nine areas of criminal law, including the one on sexual assault and another that said the firm would help sex offenders get removed from the Megan’s Law registry.
The minority leader said the outside company that wrote the pages is no longer contracted with his law firm.
Bramnick on Tuesday apologized for the page’s content. He has not sought to defend the claims on the pages that have been removed.
“Sure, absolutely, and I’ve said the apology on NJTV,” Bramnick said. “I understand that the way it was written was poorly done, I’m just hoping there’s other things we can talk about except a very poorly written page in a 1,000-page website.”
Spanish language versions of some of the removed pages remain online. Bramnick said he would have those pulled as well if the wording did not meet his standards.
“If the wording is improper, we’ll definitely take it down,” he said. “I don’t speak Spanish, but I’m sure I’ll get Mike Noriega, Vilariño or John Rodriguez, my three partners, to take a look.”
It’s not clear when, if ever, those pages will be brought back online. It’s more than possible they’ll be offline until after election day, which is now just three weeks away.
Bramnick said his firm’s criminal law attorneys made the decision to pull the webpages in question, adding those same attorneys would handle their retooling.
“Once again I didn’t take them down. I know the criminal people went through it and took down stuff that they wanted to either rewrite,” Bramnick said. “So, as I said, how they’re going to rewrite them, when they’re going to put them up — I just don’t know.”
Alex Koren, the campaign manager for Bramnick’s Democratic opponents, Lisa Mandelblatt and Stacey Gunderman, said that Bramnick “should know better than anyone that when something goes out in your name, you should read it.”
“What’s next? Is he going to claim he has a 100% rating from the NRA because he didn’t read the bills before he voted against universal background checks, banning high capacity magazines, and keeping guns out of the hands of domestic abusers?” Koren said. “Is he going to blame his staff for his 9 votes against funding women’s health and family planning services? Jon’s latest excuse means he’s either lying or negligent – neither of which are things you want from your elected officials.”
This story was updated at 11:37 PM to include comment from Koren.