Home>Highlight>Drunk driver who killed Russ Maffei wants to take back guilty plea

Former Jersey City Republican Municipal Chairman Russell Maffei

Drunk driver who killed Russ Maffei wants to take back guilty plea

Ex-Hudson correctional officer now in custody after initial no-show, will be jailed in Essex until October hearing

By David Wildstein, August 02 2019 1:34 pm

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A former Hudson County corrections officer was taken into custody today and will remain at the Essex County jail until an October 25 hearing to decide if he can withdraw his guilty plea after admitting to killing two well-known Hudson County Republicans with his car in two years ago.

Michael Hansen had admitted he was drunk in an April 2017 hit-and-run that killed Hudson Jersey City GOP Municipal Chairman Russell Maffei and Republican Assembly candidate Marie Tauro in April 2017.

Hansen was due to be sentenced today this morning, but initially failed to appear.  He was in North Bergen and brought into Superior Court Judge Patrick Arre’s courtroom.

Hansen attempted to take back his guilty plea.

He has been sent to Essex County to avoid any conflict for his former colleagues who guard the Hudson County jail.

Maffei, 57, who was also the Republican State Committeeman from Hudson County and a strong presence in New Jersey politics for more than 30 years, and was leaving the Coach House Diner in North Bergen with Tauro, 80, a leader of the Jersey City Tea Party Alliance who was finalizing her petitions to run for the legislature.

Several Republican leaders attended the sentencing to offer impact statements to the judge, including Assemblyman Bob Auth (R-Old Tappan), Hudson County Republican Chairman Jose Arango, former Assemblyman Guy Talarico (R-Oradell), Jersey City GOP general counsel Garrett Simulcik, and former State Senate candidate Hermino Mendoza.

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