van pelt resigns
Dan Van Pelt Edward Lea

NEWARK — A federal court has rejected a former New Jersey lawmaker’s attempt to have his corruption sentence thrown out.

Former Assemblyman Daniel Van Pelt had claimed in court papers that he received ineffective counsel.

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In court filings, the Ocean County Republican said his attorneys neglected to call numerous witnesses that could have strengthened his case and didn’t argue effectively at sentencing.

In a ruling published Thursday, a U.S. District judge in Trenton concluded that some of the potential witnesses’ testimony was already covered or wouldn’t have affected the case’s outcome.

Van Pelt was among 45 people arrested in July 2009 in a massive corruption sting called Operation Bid Rig. He was convicted of bribery and attempted extortion in 2010 and is serving a 41-month prison term.

He was recorded by a camera attached to the clothing of government informant Solomon Dwek as he accepted $10,000 in cash inside Caesars Atlantic City in February 2009. The two men had just had a steak dinner and discussed development plans for Waretown Town Center in Ocean Township, where Van Pelt served as a committeman.

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