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Judge lets Atlantic City councilman's lawsuit against NJ attorney general office go forward

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ATLANTIC CITY, New Jersey — A Superior Court judge is allowing a lawsuit by an Atlantic City councilman alleging malicious prosecution by the state Attorney General's Office to move forward — again.

Marty Small was charged with — and acquitted of — election fraud twice in five years.

He's suing the attorney general's office, alleging the state knew it had no evidence against him but prosecuted him anyway because officials were angry about the first acquittal.

"As I've said since Day One, the facts are on our side," Small said. "I look forward to getting in front of a jury."

His attorney, Ed Jacobs, said Thursday a judge denied a second attempt by the state to have the case dismissed about a week or so ago. Now discovery, the process of exchanging information between the two sides, can begin.

"It's time for them to start explaining their conduct," Jacobs said.

An after-hours message left with the Attorney General's Office on Thursday was not immediately returned.

A judge rejected a similar motion by the state to dismiss the case in March 2013. In that motion, the Attorney General's Office argued that the state and its officers are entitled to immunity for acts carried out in their official duties.

Small and five others were cleared in March 2011 of charges that they tampered with absentee ballots during the 2009 Democratic primary campaign for Atlantic City mayor, allegedly trying to steal the election by manipulating ballots designed for voters too sick to make it to the polls.

Small lost the 2009 primary to Mayor Lorenzo Langford, and filed suit against the state in December 2011.

In 2006, Small also was found not guilty of voter fraud, this time regarding allegations of ballot fraud in a previous mayoral election in which he was not a candidate. He alleges the second prosecution was done because prosecutors were still angry over losing the first case, and relied on untruthful witnesses against him.


Wayne Parry can be reached at http://twitter.com/WayneParryAC

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