Ex-state senator partner appear on conspiracy charges relating to Encap
By Peter Sampson|North Jersey.com
Former state Sen. Wayne R. Bryant and a one-time managing partner of one of the state’s most powerful law firms Wednesday formally denied charges they exchanged $192,000 in bribes for legislation favoring Encap’s failed $1-billion landfill-to-links development in the Meadowlands and two other projects.
The once influential Camden County Democrat, who is serving a four-year prison term on similar corruption charges, appeared in a mustard-yellow prison jumpsuit, his wrists and ankles in shackles, to answer the charges contained in a 40-count indictment returned in September.
He was joined by co-defendant Eric D. Wisler, who had served as EnCap’s lead attorney at the Teaneck law firm then known as DeCotiis, Fitzpatrick, Cole and Wisler.
Defense attorneys entered “not guilty” pleas on their clients’ behalf during a brief hearing before U.S. District Judge Faith S. Hochberg in Newark. The judge set a tentative trial date of Jan. 11, but both defendants waived their right to a speedy trial and are expected to seek a continuance.
Wisler, who is said to have been battling cancer for four years, remained seated during the hearing and answered questions from the judge in a barely audible whisper. He had walked into the federal courthouse with the assistance of his attorney, Michael Critchley; he left unassisted.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Bradley A. Harsch told the judge he has been informed that Wisler has a “serious medical condition” and that the defense will be seeking a ruling that he is physically incompetent to stand trial.