Former N.J. Assemblyman Pleads Guilty in Insurance Bribe Case

By | October 22, 2007

A former New Jersey Democratic state assemblyman who was among 11 public officials arrested last month on federal bribe-taking charges pleaded guilty last week to attempted extortion.

Alfred E. Steele acknowledged accepting $15,500 between March and August to influence the awarding of insurance and roofing contracts.

Under federal sentencing guidelines, he likely faces 37 to 46 months in prison when sentenced on Jan. 28, prosecutors and his attorney said.

Steele said he accepted responsibility and apologized to his constituents.

“I regret violating the trust that they gave me as an elected official,” Steele said.

Steele, a Paterson resident and a Baptist minister, resigned from the Assembly on Sept. 10. Steele said he planned to remain the pastor at his church and said he the money he accepted “was given to the community,” though he refused to elaborate.

The 53-year-old was also a Passaic County undersheriff but resigned that post on the day of his Sept. 6 arrest.

Neither U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie nor Steele’s attorney, Greyson P. Hannigan, would comment on whether Steele was cooperating with prosecutors on the other bribery cases.

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