Tuesday, November 17th, 2015
Morris County Prosecutor Fredric M. Knapp announces that Andrew Pena, 48, formerly from Hewitt/West Milford in Passaic County was charged today with various crimes related to his attempts to influence the jury that had been empaneled in his recent aggravated sexual assault trial.
On Oct. 27, a trial commenced involving Pena and continued until a guilty verdict was returned on Nov. 10, 2015. Assistant Prosecutor Christopher Schellhorn represented the State during this trial.
A Morris County Jury returned a guilty verdict on counts of aggravated sexual assault, burglary, sex assault by force, criminal sexual contact, and criminal restraint.
Once the guilty verdict was returned, Pena was remanded to the Morris County Correctional Facility and his bail was revoked.
During the trial, an investigation began into attempts by Pena to influence the jury and obstruct the administration of law. It was ultimately discovered that Pena conspired with another individual, Michael Campbell, 44, of Wharton, to distribute information that was previously deemed inadmissible during trial, in an effort to influence the jury.
Confidential documents, provided to Pena in accordance with the rules of court, were duplicated, altered, and then disseminated in areas near the Morris County Courthouse in Morristown.
The investigation also revealed communications between Pena and Campbell detailing their plans to disseminate this information, including which documents were to be used, the manner in which they would be disseminated, the areas where they would be disseminated to, the appropriate time to disseminate the information, and the urgency of following through with this conspiracy.
Campbell was arrested by detectives with the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office on Nov. 5. He was charged with obstructing the administration of law and corrupting or influencing a jury. He was subsequently released on a summons.
Superior Court Judge Stephen Taylor today authorized the filing of charges against Pena. Bail was set in the amount of $25,000. Pena is scheduled to be sentenced regarding the guilty verdict on Dec. 4. A court date for Pena’s current charges are yet to be determined.
Prosecutor Knapp singled out the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes Unit, as well as the Criminal Investigation Section, the Bureau of Corrections, and the Protective Services Unit of the Morris County Sherriff’s Office for their efforts in this investigation.
Any inquiries can be directed to Morris County Deputy Chief of Investigations Denise H. Arseneault at 973-285-6262 or [email protected].