Cohen resigns

Under fire for child pornography allegedly found on his legislative office computer, Assemblyman Neil Cohen has resigned his seat, effective immediately.

The resignation letter, dated yesterday, was received by Dana Burley, the clerk of the State Assembly, at 9:24 a.m. today.

"Please accept this letter as my formal resignation from the General Assembly of the State of New Jersey, effective immediately," read the entirety of the letter.

Cohen checked himself into an undisclosed mental institution last week after the Attorney General's office seized computers from his legislative office. A staffer in the office found what are alleged to be pornographic pictures of minors on Cohen's computer. He was then reported to the Office of Legislative Services by his district-mates, State Sen. Ray Lesniak and Assemblyman Joe Cryan.

Assembly Speaker Joseph J. Roberts Jr. (D-Camden) today accepted Assemblyman Neil Cohen’s letter of resignation from the General Assembly. The letter was received by the Assembly Clerk at 9:24 a.m. Monday and effective immediately.

Roberts subsequently issued a statement.

“The allegations made against Assemblyman Cohen, if true, are sad and indefensible," he said. "Assemblyman Cohen was a respected legislator who dedicated his life to the State House and whose legacy would have been great. Unfortunately, all of that will now be forever overshadowed. While law enforcement reviews these allegations, we sincerely hope he receives the help he desperately needs.”

Members of the Union County Democratic Committee from the District 20 towns of Elizabeth, Kenilworth, Roselle and Union will have 35 days to select a temporary replacement for Cohen. A special election for the remainder of the two-year term will be held in November.

"I’m an undertaker by trade, so when I bury somebody, they don’t come back."
—Bergen County Democratic Chairman Lou Stellato