TRENTON, N.J. – New Jersey's attorney general resigned Tuesday after a special prosecutor concluded she violated state ethics laws by intervening in a traffic stop involving her boyfriend.
Zulima Farber, who will step down at the end of the month, said she is leaving office "out of respect for the governor" and not because she was asked to do so.
"I admit to being human and making that error. I am truly sorry and apologize to all New Jerseyans for that mistake," said Farber, who appeared at a Statehouse news conference alongside Gov. Jon S. Corzine.
Farber's live-in boyfriend, lawyer Hamlet Goore, was pulled over by police in Fairview for a traffic violation in May, and Farber showed up at the scene in her state car. Goore's van was found to be improperly registered and his license appeared to be suspended, but he was allowed to drive home.
In recent weeks, Farber denied doing anything to influence the police. But a special prosecutor appointed by the governor said in a report issued Tuesday that Farber violated state ethics laws by "approving actions which allowed Mr. Goore to drive his vehicle home."
"The attorney general knowingly acted to secure a benefit for Mr. Goore that was violative of the motor vehicle laws and obviously not available to the general public," Richard J. Williams wrote in his report.
Corzine met with Farber earlier in the day and asked her to make a decision on whether to resign. He said he accepted her resignation "with sadness and respect."
"She has decided to do more than would be ordinarily required for a lapse in judgment," the governor said.
Corzine appointed Farber to the state's top law-enforcement post upon taking office earlier this year. But in New Jersey, a governor can only remove an attorney general "for cause," a murky standard in the opinion of some legal experts.
Motor vehicle records show that Farber, 61, has had at least 12 speeding tickets, four bench warrants issued for her arrest and three license suspensions.
The report led to renewed calls for the resignation of the New Jersey's first Hispanic attorney general.
"She is incapable of leading the fight against official misconduct and abuse of power because her conduct indicates that she does not even recognize what those things are," said state Republican chairman Tom Wilson.
Farber was born in Cuba and fled that country with her family while in her teens. A partner in a law firm, she previously served in the administrations of two New Jersey governors. Among her specialties is attorney ethics.