By Joe Ryan/The Star-Ledger
Days before announcing his resignation as a federal prosecutor, Republican gubernatorial candidate Chris Christie agreed to hire the son of his friend and mentor, Herbert J. Stern, as an assistant U.S. attorney.
The move sparked public criticism from Democrats, who accused Christie of using his post as New Jersey’s top federal law enforcement official for patronage. But interviews last week showed it also drew private concern from prosecutors at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Newark.
Christie hired Samuel Stern over objections from nearly every assistant U.S. attorney who interviewed him, according to three federal law enforcement officials with knowledge of the hiring process.
They contended Stern, who at the time was two years out of law school, lacked the experience to become a federal prosecutor, the officials said. And before hiring him, Christie took the unusual step of changing the interview process after receiving negative reviews, according to the officials who spoke to The Star-Ledger on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to discuss the matter.
Christie declined to be interviewed. In a statement, he defended hiring Stern.
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