George Norcross, co-defendants plead not guilty to running racketeering enterprise

George Norcross, his brother Phil and four others are all charged with extorting businesses with property rights along the Camden Waterfront and obtaining tax incentive credits, which were then sold for millions.   

Jim Murdoch

Jul 9, 2024, 9:53 PM

Updated 5 days ago

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George Norcross, once referred to as the most powerful non-elected Democrat in New Jersey, made his first court appearance after he and five others were charged by Attorney General Matt Platkin with running a racketeering enterprise.  
Speaking on behalf of Norcross, attorney Michael Critchley announced the first defendant’s not guilty plea.  
Norcross, his brother Phil and four others are all charged with extorting businesses with property rights along the Camden Waterfront and obtaining tax incentive credits, which were then sold for millions.   
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Outside of court, attorneys for the defendants hammered Platkin’s case against them.  
“This is a speaking indictment that’s more of a press release that doesn’t have the respect of an indictment. And today was the first step in our journey to get to where we know we are going to get to and that’s justice,” said Critchley.  
At the center of the 111-page indictment were allegations of threats - obtained with wire-tapped profane phone calls between George Norcross and one of the developers - that the attorneys argue are simply tough business talk.  
“It’s not a threat. It’s not a threat that constitutes a crime. There’s a difference between comments that may be provocative and comments that violate the law,” added Critchley.  
Back on June 17, Platkin held a news conference announcing the charges, with the snowy-haired Norcross himself in attendance, seen in the front row to the right of the podium. Defense attorneys claim these charges stem from eight years ago and were investigated multiple times with no wrongdoings found.  
“Every lawyer in this state should be alarmed at the idea that Phillip Norcross and William Tambussi have been put in this indictment for doing what lawyers do every single day, which is zealously represent their clients within the bounds of the law,” said attorney Kevin Marino, who represents Phil Norcross.  
During court proceedings, Assistant Attorney General Andrew Wellbrock and Deputy Attorney General Amanda Nini agreed to turn over 13,700 documents, including 2.5 million files, to the defense as discovery, under a temporary protective order, until both sides meet again in front of Judge Peter Warshaw in September.  
News 12 has reached out to the office of the attorney general for reaction to the comments made Tuesday by defense attorneys.  


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