A local politician and former TV news reporter is speaking out after being charged with DUI.
On Tuesday, shortly after 3:50 p.m., police say an officer conducted a traffic stop on New Jersey Assemblyman Paul Moriarty (D-4) of Washington Township. The officer then arrested and charged him with driving under the influence of alcohol, according to investigators. Police say there were no passengers in Moriarty's vehicle at the time.
Moriarty, 55, was taken to the Washington Township Police Department and processed, according to police. He was charged with Driving While Intoxicated, Refusal to Submit to a Breath Test and Failure to Maintain Lane. Police also say he was released pending a court appearance on August 8.
After reports of the arrest surfaced, NBC10 reached out to Moriarty who sent us the following statement:
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This afternoon after spending over an hour at my local car dealership and heading to grab lunch, I was pulled over by a Washington Township Police Officer who claimed I had cut him off at an intersection.
I disputed his assertion which led him to order me from my car, submit me to a field sobriety test and issue a summons for DUI. Let me be clear: I had consumed no alcoholic beverages, and this entire episode was an abuse of power.
The Officer that detained me, today, was previously fired from the Washington Township Police Department for allegedly being untruthful in an Internal Affairs Investigation. A court subsequently ordered his reinstatement.
My attorney intends to vigorously defend these allegations, which may include filing charges with Washington Township Police Department's Internal Affairs.
NBC10 later spoke with Moriarty in person.
“I did not have any alcohol,” said Moriarty. “None. And I think I was singled out and harassed. It was very embarrassing, very intimidating. I plan to defend this vigorously and perhaps even file charges against the Washington Township Police Department.”
Moriarty says he was taken to the Washington Township Police Department and refused a breathalyzer test. He tells NBC10 he instead asked to speak with his attorney first because he didn’t trust the process or the officer.
“Let me say this,” said Moriarty. “I have the highest regard for the Washington Township Police Department. But today with this particular officer I believe I was pulled over, harassed and intimidated and then charged with something that I didn’t do.”
Moriarty has served in the New Jersey General Assembly, representing the 4th Legislative District, since 2006. He also served as the Mayor of Washington Township from 2004 until 2008.
Prior to his political career, Moriarty worked as an investigative journalist at CBS 3 for 17 years. Moriarty was also a news producer for NBC10 in the late 1980’s.
The Washington Township Police Department sent a media release to NBC10 on Wednesday, confirming Moriarty's arrest. In the release, police identified the officer who arrested Moriarty as Joseph Dibuonaventura. The release also addressed Moriarty's allegations against the officer:
Chief Rafael Muniz is aware of the media reports of statements made by Paul D. Moriarty alleging officer misconduct. All complaints made will be fully investigated as required by the New Jersey Attorney General Guidelines.
On Thursday, the PBA, the union that represents the officer said, in part:
"The police officer did nothing improper. The officer's history is totally irrelevant and has nothing to do with this case.
The Breathalyzer is legitimately certified by the New Jersey State Supreme Court and cannot be tampered with or compromised."