New raw video obtained by NBC New York Wednesday shows a New Jersey state trooper car escorting vehicles as they raced down the Garden State Parkway last month. The race is being investigated by state authorities.
Two New Jersey State Police officers who escorted a high-speed caravan of luxury cars, including one driven by former New York Giants star Brandon Jacobs, to Atlantic City will likely be charged criminally Friday, the attorney for one of the officers said.
Sgt. 1st Class Nassir Nassry, a 25-year-veteran of the State Police, and Trooper Joseph Ventrella, 28, were suspended in April without pay after the March incident. Nassry allegedly ordered Ventrella to help with the caravan.
"He knows this was not a smart move," said Charles Sciarra, Nassry's attorney. "He knows there were safety issues with regard to this and we don't debate that."
The escort down the Garden State Parkway at speeds believed at times to be in excess of 100 mph made national headlines after one motorist who was passed by the Lamborghinis, Porsches and other expensive, exotic cars described it as "Death Race 2012."
No one was hurt, and there were no accidents as the convoy drove from North Jersey to Atlantic City.
Video of the incident by a construction worker showed that some of the vehicles may have had tape over their license plates, which apparently prompted the attorney general's office to consider filing criminal charges in the case, the source familiar with the investigation said.
Nassry filed his retirement papers Thursday morning, just hours before Sciarra held a news conference describing efforts to charge Nassry criminally as "a PR agenda."
If Nassry, who has an otherwise unblemished record, loses his pension, either through conviction or plea bargaining, it could amount to an estimated $3 million fine -- the maximum the 47-year-old veteran could otherwise expect to collect over his lifetime.
"What my client is not willing to do is surrender his career and his pension," Sciarra said.
NJ Attorney General Jeff Chiesa's office did not comment, except to say there will be a news conference Friday to detail the results of the investigation.
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