‘Pooperintendent’ video used by police is contaminated, lawyer says
HOLMDEL —The lawyer for former Kenilworth superintendent Thomas Tramaglini is arguing that a surveillance video cannot be used as evidence in a Municipal Court trial on charges that the schools chief defecated on a high school track.
At a hearing Tuesday to set a trial date, Matthew Adams questioned the veracity of the video, according to NJ.com. The video footage was taken using a camera borrowed by a school janitor, it was revealed in court. The Holmdel police officer made a DVD copy of the footage he needed and returned the camera.
The memory card containing the footage has since been recorded over, leaving it "severely compromised," according to Adams.
Tramaglini was arrested on April 30 and charged with lewdness, littering and defecating in public after a Holmdel High School employee investigated a report of human feces being found on or near the track on a daily basis. A police investigation using surveillance video identified Tramaglini as the person responsible for the incidents. Tramaglini lives in a condo in nearby Matatwan.
"What they did with these media cards is tantamount to taking a hose on a bloody murder scene and washing it down before it's processed," Adams told Municipal Court Judge Mary Carey. The original footage contains meta data which is important to the case, according to Adams.
The judge was concerned more with what she saw in the video.
"At the end of the day I need to decide whether this took place on this day. It the state's counsel is insufficient and they can't prove their case, the case is over. It's dismissed. I don't need anything that happened after the fact."
The footage has not been made available to the public and Open Public Records Act requests from New Jersey 101.5 and other media outlets have been rejected.
Tramaglini, who was accompanied by a bodyguard in court, did not speak during the hearing or to reporters afterwards, according to NJ.com.
According to documents obtained by the news site through an OPRA request, Tramaglini was paid over $100,000 to end his tenure as Kenilworth's superintendent early. His "resignation" was announced at the end of July because he had become too much of a "distraction."
Adams is also pursing lawsuit against Holmdel police, charging that he suffered at least $1 million in damages as a result of police releasing his arrest booking photo to the media.
No date has been scheduled for his trial.