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Attorney Matthew O'Donnell, the state's cooperating witness in a public corruption sting operation.

Morris County drops O’Donnell as special counsel

Embattled cooperating witness has lost numerous municipal and county clients over the last week

By David Wildstein, January 04 2020 6:32 pm

Matt O’Donnell has lost another plumb legal contract.

The Morris County Board of Freeholders has dropped O’Donnell, the cooperating witness in a state corruption sting, from their list of attorneys to handle tax appeal work for county government.

This is the latest in a long list of government clients that have dropped O’Donnell’s Morristown-based law firm, O’Donnell McCord, after five former officials and candidates – three of them from Morris County – were charged with bribery by state Attorney General Gurbir Grewal.

O’Donnell has been identified as the cooperating witness in those cases.

Earlier this week, Mount Arlington dumped O’Donnell as their municipal attorney.

Hackensack, Bloomfield, Wall, Manalapan, Middletown and Holmdel are among the towns that have pulled legal work from O’Donnell.  Monmouth County also declined to reappoint his firm.

West Caldwell sidestepped the O’Donnell issue at their January 1 reorganization.  O’Donnell has close ties to Mayor Joseph Tempesta, who is also the township administrator in East Hanover, a large O’Donnell McCord client.

Tempesta and his West Caldwell slate have taken nearly $10,000 from O’Donnell-tied straw donors.

It’s not immediately clear how O’Donnell became a cooperating witness, but the New Jersey Globe has learned that straw donors connected to O’Donnell and his law firm have made huge contributions to officials representing government entities that have hired him – including thousands to the Morris County Republican Committee.

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