The use of anabolic steroid testing as a political tool in the Hackensack Police Department became a point of contention during the insurance fraud trial of Charles “Ken” Zisa. Zisa, the former Democratic New Jersey General Assemblyman and suspended Hackensack Police Chief, has been accused of abusing his power by engaging in a pattern of official misconduct, witness tampering and insurance fraud.
Patricia Prezioso, the defense attorney for Zisa, has tried to discredit a key prosecution witness who testified against Zisa. Officer Joseph Al-Ayoubi testified that he falsified an official police report to protect Kathleen Tiernan, the girlfriend of Chief Zisa, from charges of drunken driving on February 4, 2008.
During the course of the Zisa investigation last year, Al-Ayoubi tested positive for anabolic steroids after failing a departmental testosterone:epitestosterone (T:E) ratio urinalysis. Prezioso argued that Al-Ayoubi’s testimony was tainted and was motivated by his personal grievances against Zisa for the positive steroid test.
Prezioso claimed that criminal and administrative charges against Al-Ayoubi resulting from his use of testosterone were dropped in exchange for his testimony against Zisa. The defense attorney suggested that Al-Ayoubi and other officers who tested positive for steroids were offered an “immunity” agreement if they agreed to cooperate and testify against Zisa.
Assistant Bergen County Prosecutor Daniel Keitel tried to argue that the positive steroid test result was orchestrated by Police Chief Zisa as revenge for Al-Ayoubi’s and other officers’ cooperation with the internal affairs investigation. However, no evidence was introduced to support the prosecution’s argument. And Judge Joseph Conte ordered Keitel to steer clear of unsubstantiated allegations that he was not prepared to prove to the court.
The 2008 automobile accident involving Zisa’s girlfriend involved a Chevy Trailblazer owned by Chief Zisa. Zisa filed an $11,000 insurance claim to recover damages. Zisa claimed Tiernan hit a utility pole after she swerved to avoid hitting an animal on the road. Officer Al-Ayoubi documented the same in the official police report. But now, Al-Ayoubi claimed that he protected Chief Zisa by covering up the possible drunk driving incident.
The alleged cover-up led to charges of official misconduct and insurance fraud for both Chief Zisa and Tiernan. They each face up to fifteen years in prison if they are found guilty on the charges.
Akin, S. (April 11, 2012). Officer testifies he filed false report in Zisa criminal trial. Retrieved from http://www.northjersey.com/hackensack/Officer_admits_he_falsified_report_in_Zisa_criminal_trial.html