Rich Lowry, the editor of National Review,
said Wednesdaythat the publication is suing Newark Mayor Cory Booker, the N
ewark Police Department and the City of Newark.
The publication is suing to obtain public records relating to one of the stories Booker frequently tells on the campaign trail — one relating to the 2004 murder of Wazn Miller, who was killed in a case that remains unresolved.
Lowry said that National Review decided to file suit after weeks of stonewalling from “everyone involved” in obtaining the records, despite the fact that New Jersey is an open-records state.
The mayor’s office pushed back on this later on Wednesday.
Booker spokesman James Allen issued a statement to Business Insider on the incident, saying that National Review will receive the requested records by Sept. 13.
Here’s the full statement:
“The request in question was filed with Office of the City Clerk, the custodian of records that operates independently of the Office of the Mayor. Because no electronic police records exist for this time period and the Clerk’s search of microfilm records did not produce any results, the Clerk directed the Police Department to perform a manual search of hard copy archives. The Clerk notified the National Review that they anticipated a response on or before September 13th and did not receive an objection. Officials at the Police Department searched extensively and located hard copies of the incident report. The Clerk has indicated that the National Review will receive the records on Thursday, prior to the deadline.”
Allen included documents that supported his statement, which verify that the request was made on Aug. 22. Kenneth Louis, the deputy city clerk, said National Review would receive the documents by Sept. 9. Because it had to search hard copies, it requested a four-day extension. It did not receive any objection from National Review.
Anthony Ambrose, Essex County Chief of Detectives and former Newark Police Director, also released a statement which backs up Booker’s telling of the events:
“I was Director of the Newark Police at the time of the Miller case in April 2004 and I responded to the scene where Wazn Miller was shot. When I arrived, I found first responders as well as Cory Booker. I remember that Cory was wearing jogging pants and a sweatshirt, and that he had blood all over his hand and on his arm. The people at the scene said he rendered aid to the victim, and I recall him staying by the victim’s side until he was transported to the hospital. Unfortunately, the individual did not survive.”
The story of Miller is one Booker, who is running for Senate in New Jersey, often tells.
Here’s a version published by The Star-Ledger, from 2004:
“Booker said he cradled Wazn and applied pressure to the wound to his stomach to stop the bleeding. He also kept checking the young man’s pulse.
‘The first time, I felt a weak pulse. The second time, I felt really strange sensations. Then there was no pulse at all,’ Booker said.
Booker said he tried to talk to Wazn until the ambulance arrived.
‘I said, ‘Hold tight. Stay with me. You’re going to be ok,’ Booker recalled.”
National Review’s suit comes weeks after one of its reporters, Eliana Johnson, published a lengthy account that alleged a key character in one of Cory Booker’s frequent campaign-trail stories — a drug dealer named T-Bone who once threatened Booker’s life but then became his friend — is imaginary.
In response, the Booker campaign told Business Insider that National Review was simply trying to stir up trouble.
“This is a national, partisan, right-wing publication that’s trying to make a fake controversy from 2008 into a fake controversy from today. That’s essentially what it is,” Booker campaign spokesman Kevin Griffis told Business Insider in an interview late Thursday.”It’s just not — it’s old news.”
This post has been updated.
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