Top McGreevey Donor to Plead Guilty

Top McGreevey Donor to Plead Guilty A top New Jersey gubernatorial donor who is accused of having a prostitute seduce a government witness is to plead guilty Wednesday, a federal official said.

The plea by Charles Kushner is to be taken at 11 a.m. before U.S. District Judge Jose L. Linares in Newark, an aide to the judge said Tuesday. The court calendar did not specify what charge or charges were involved, the aide said.

A federal official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the hearing would be for a guilty plea.

Messages seeking comment from Kushner lawyer Benjamin Brafman were not immediately returned.

Greg Reinert, a spokesman for U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Christie, said federal prosecutors would have a news conference following an 11 a.m. proceeding in front of Linares. Reinert declined to say more.

Gov. James E. McGreevey's spokespeople and lawyer did not immediately return calls.

Kushner, a real estate developer, was accused July 13 of hiring a prostitute to have sex with his own brother-in-law, William Schulder, who was a cooperating witness in a grand jury investigation into whether Kushner violated campaign contribution laws and committed tax fraud.

Prosecutors said Kushner, McGreevey's top contributor, ordered the sex act videotaped and a copy of the tape sent to his own sister, Schulder's wife.

Kushner is charged with conspiracy, obstructing a federal investigation and promoting interstate prostitution.

The court action Wednesday is slated to come less than a week after McGreevey announced he had an extramarital affair with a man and would resign Nov. 15. Sources close to McGreevey have identified the man as Golan Cipel, an Israeli the governor had appointed to a state homeland security job.

Kushner sponsored the work visa that allowed Cipel to come to the United States and gave him a $30,000-a-year job in public relations with one of his companies.

Kushner is not the only McGreevey associate facing federal charges.

McGreevey fund-raiser David D'Amiano was indicted July 7, charged with extortion, alleging he demanded money to help a farmer get a favorable sale price for his land in a farmland preservation program. Although McGreevey was not mentioned by name in that indictment, the governor has said he believes he is the "State Official 1" referred to repeatedly in the indictment.

McGreevey is not implicated in the criminal complaint against Kushner, which said Kushner recruited two prostitutes to have sex acts recorded on tape with two former employees.

Prosecutors have said Kushner, 50, of Livingston, was attempting to retaliate against witnesses for cooperating in an ongoing investigation that focused on Kushner's business practices and campaign donations.

One of the associates, Schulder, had sex with a prostitute at a Bridgewater hotel in December. The other associate declined advances from a second prostitute.

Kushner's Florham Park firm, The Kushner Companies, is worth $1 billion. It owns or manages 20,000 apartments in New Jersey and several other states, builds 500 to 1,000 new homes a year and has commercial properties in New York, Newark, Jersey City, Plainsboro, Hoboken and several other localities.

In February 2003, Kushner withdrew as McGreevey's nominee to head the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. At the time, Kushner was the target of lawsuits contending he improperly used business funds for personal and political purposes.

Kushner denied any wrongdoing and McGreevey refused to back away from the appointment despite months of questions about the nominee's background and campaign donations.

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Author: NBC10/AP


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