AP Via VIN Reports: Louis Manzo was preparing to do a radio interview from his family’s shore home on the morning of July 23, 2009, when the FBI called. Hours later, he was being led in handcuffs before TV cameras with dozens of other suspects in New Jersey’s largest political corruption and money laundering sting.
One problem: He was charged with crimes he couldn’t have committed, a federal judge would later rule in two separate opinions. Today Manzo, a former state lawmaker, is a free man after a bruising legal battle to clear his name, an effort that cost him his home, his job and $150,000 in legal fees — expenses he recently filed a motion to have the government reimburse him for. Manzo’s odyssey has spotlighted the flaws in a 2 1/2-year sting operation that cost millions of dollars to mount and prosecute but never became the type of slam-dunk usually attained in federal investigations.