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Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Nicholas Scutari. Photo by Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe

Scutari sues Armstead, others for libel

Senator’s suit claims municipal investigation that showed he didn’t show up for work was a sham

By Nikita Biryukov, October 30 2019 6:00 pm

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State Sen. Nicholas Scutari sued Linden Mayor Derek Armstead and members of the City Council for libel Thursday.

“even elected officials can be sued for libel when the statements they make are outright lies and are slanderous,” said Geoffrey Arlen, Scutari’s attorney.

Arlen said the suit was filed over Armstead’s allegedly leaking a taxpayer-funded letter and report created by the Linden Municipal Investigative Committee.

The report claimed Scutari frequently did not show up to work when he was Linden’s municipal prosecutor despite being paid for the time.

Scutari denied the charges, claiming Armstead fabricated the report in order to damage Scutari politically.

The two lawmakers have long feuded. Armstead was responsible for Scutari being ousted from his job as Linden’s prosecutor.

The suit also targets Councilman Peter Brown, who chaired the investigative committee.

Scutari’s lawsuit claims Brown failed to contact relevant witnesses and otherwise retaliated against the senator, who is also Union County’s Democratic chairman.

Scutari is seeking $10 million in damages.

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