Home>Highlight>Drunk driver who killed Russ Maffei gets 20 years

Former Jersey City Republican Municipal Chairman Russell Maffei

Drunk driver who killed Russ Maffei gets 20 years

Michael Hansen pulled bid to withdraw plea agreement

By David Wildstein, August 09 2019 1:34 pm

A former Hudson County Corrections officer who admitted to killing two well-known Hudson County political leaders while driving drunk in 2017 was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Michael Hansen admitted he was intoxicated in an April 2017 hit-and-run that killed Hudson County Republican State Committeeman Russell Maffei and longtime Republican activist Marie Tauro.

Maffei, 57, the Jersey City Republican Municipal Chairman and a strong presence in New Jersey politics for more than 30 years, was leaving the Coach House Diner in North Bergen with Tauro, 80, a leader of the Jersey City Tea Party Alliance who was preparing to run for State Assembly that year.

Last week, after initially not showing up at his sentencing, Hansen sought to withdraw his guilty plea.  Hansen backed off that today.

Superior Court Judge Patrick Arre indicated he would have liked to impose a stiffer sentence, but decided to honor Hansen’s original plea agreement, according to an individual who was in the courtroom today.

Arre heard impassioned, sometimes heart-wrenching testimony from Maffei’s cousin, Angela, and Tauro’s son and brother.

A number of Republican officials were in court, including Assemblyman Robert Auth (R-Old Tappan), a close friend of Maffei.

Hansen must serve 85% of his term before becoming eligible for parole.

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