Ex-prosecutor battling Christie loses a round in court

Posted: May 09, 2014

TRENTON A New Jersey appellate court has ruled against a former assistant Hunterdon County prosecutor's request for records that he says would bolster his claim that he was fired for protesting corruption by Christie administration officials.

Ben Barlyn filed a wrongful termination lawsuit in 2012, claiming he was fired after objecting to a decision by the state Attorney General's Office to drop charges against three members of the county Sheriff's Office.

State officials said the indictments were flawed. Barlyn alleges that they were dismissed to protect allies of Gov. Christie - a claim the governor's office has rejected.

Barlyn filed a motion to obtain the grand jury transcripts from the case, which he says would support his argument. A trial judge granted Barlyn's motion last year, and the state appealed.

On Wednesday, the Appellate Division reversed the lower court's decision, ruling that Barlyn had not met the threshold for demonstrating need for grand jury transcripts, which are traditionally secret.

Barlyn's lawyer, Robert Lytle, said Barlyn would move forward with the lawsuit. The court left the door open for Barlyn to request the records in the future if other avenues for obtaining information, including depositions, prove unsuccessful, Lytle said.

"These materials, in our view, really go to the heart of why Mr. Barlyn was fired. So we think it's important to have access to them," Lytle said.


mhanna@phillynews.com

609-989-8990 @maddiehanna

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