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State Sen. Nellie Pou. Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe

Pou says Paterson officials should be held accountable, but wants to protect due process

Senator: ‘Charges of abuse of the public’s trust are disturbing, especially if they involve the election’

By David Wildstein, June 26 2020 6:39 pm

State Sen. Nellie Pou (D-North Haledon) says she’s bothered by allegations of election tampering in the May 12 Paterson city council race, but says she wants to let the process play out before rushing to judgment and demanding resignations.

“I take these allegations very seriously. Charges of abuse of the public’s trust are disturbing, especially if they involve the election process,” said Pou, who represents Paterson in the State Senate.  “They should be investigated thoroughly and held accountable for any wrongdoing.”

Paterson officials appear divided on the need for Councilman Michael Jackson and Councilman-elect Alex Mendez to resign following accusations that they tampered with last month’s election.  Attorney General Gurbir Grewal announced criminal charges against the two on Thursday.

Gov. Phil Murphy, Mayor Andre Sayegh and Assemblyman Benjie Wimberly want Jackson and Mendez gone.  Pou and Assemblywoman Shavonda Sumter are expressing their disappointment, but have not called for anyone to quit.

“We also have to balance out the rights everyone has for due process,” Pou said. “We have made a lot of progress in Paterson and I don’t want to see anything damage the city’s future.”

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