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Political boss George Norcross pleads not guilty in NJ corruption scheme

Influential Democratic power broker George Norcross, center, speaks outside the justice complex in Trenton, N.J., Monday, June 17, 2024. (AP Photo/Mike Catalini)
Influential Democratic power broker George Norcross, center, speaks outside the justice complex in Trenton, N.J., Monday, June 17, 2024. (AP Photo/Mike Catalini)

New Jersey Democratic power broker and insurance executive , in his first court appearance since he was indicted last month as part of a widespread corruption scheme.

Norcross and four others — his brother , his personal attorney , developer and ex-Camden mayor — are accused of leading a “criminal enterprise” to collect millions of dollars in tax credits by controlling property deals on the Camden waterfront and hijacking a development program for the poorest city in New Jersey.

The codefendants all pleaded not guilty at in Trenton.

— the CEO of trucking company NFI and fifth codefendant — has his arraignment delayed until August as his attorney, Larry Lustberg, is representing a codefendant of Sen. Bob Menendez in a corruption trial in New York.

Prosecutors said they have collected more than 13,000 pages of evidence and 2.5 million documents and audio files dating from 2012 to 2024.

“The indictment has a lot of words, a lot of pages, a lot of allegations,” Michael Critchley, Norcross’ attorney, told reporters after the arraignment. “But one thing it does not have, it does not have elements of a crime.”

Critchley said he plans to file a motion to dismiss the indictment.

Norcross, 68, is the executive chairman of the insurance firm and is also the chairman of the board of trustees for . He now lives in Palm Beach, Fla.

His brother Phillip is a lobbyist who helped design the tax incentive legislation the six are accused of abusing. It was .

said the enterprise extorted and threatened anyone who got in its way, turning the Camden waterfront into Norcross’ fiefdom.

Among the accusations, into giving up the property rights to what became the 18-story office plaza . Prosecutors said Norcross eyed the property as the new headquarters to his insurance firm.

A previous investigation into Norcross’ political dealings in the early 2010s resulted in no charges.

Norcross is one of the most powerful unelected Democrats in New Jersey and considered the de facto head of the South Jersey delegation. He is also involved in national politics.

His brother . The congressman is not accused of any wrongdoing.

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