The federal judge presiding over the tax evasion trial of Ocean County Republican chairman George Gilmore is a respected longtime jurist who has seen plenty of political corruption cases during her 40 years as a U.S. District Court judge.
Anne E. Thompson, 84, presided over cases involving Passaic city councilman, Marcellus Jackson, Hamilton mayor John Bencivengo, EnCap contractor Leroy Robinson and New York chief judge Sol Wachtler.
This isn’t the first time Thompson has seen Gilmore in court.
In 1981, she was the judge on a lawsuit between a group of Ocean County developers fighting the U.S. Department of the Interior over the legality of New Jersey’s Pinelands Protection Act.
Gilmore was the Lacey Township attorney and moved to join the challenge filed by the developer, who claimed the legislation did not properly compensate them when the value of their land was diminished. Gilmore was also the attorney for one of the developers, the Lake Lenape Land Company.
Thompson dismissed the suit.
Nominated to the bench by Jimmy Carter in 1979, Thompson became the first black federal judge in New Jersey – and the first woman. She previously served as public defender and Lawrence Township municipal prosecutor before Trenton Mayor Arthur Holland appointed her to serve as a municipal court judge in 1972.
There was public speculation in 2009 that Gov. Jon Corzine wanted Thompson to leave the bench and run on his ticket for lieutenant governor.