In the latest development in an ongoing civil case that alleges Bayonne Mayor Jimmy Davis abused his office by sending a then-City Hall worker “sext” messages, a judge ruled that over seven years of the plaintiff’s cell phone records will be admissible in the case.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
“Defendants now subpoenaed ATT through Superior Court for records with different dates, January 1, 2009- December 31, 2016. This is nothing but a fishing expedition for the defendants to pry into my private life which has no bearing on this case,” Stacie Percella said in an October 30th certification in support of a motion to quash.
“If defendant wanted to know when Jimmy Davis called me and when I called him, they could/should look at Davis’ phone records, which they already have in their possession and admitted into court … I consider this a huge invasion of my privacy, and I am asking the court to reject it.”
In early 2018, Percella filed suit against Davis, claiming that he offered to help settle an old court case involving a then-City Hall employee for $150,000 in exchange for a sexual relationship.
As HCV first reported, Percella said that Davis repeatedly sent her sexually suggestive text messages between early 2013 and late 2014. Davis, a retired police captain, was elected mayor in July 2014.
Davis told us at the time that the lawsuit was “absolutely” fiction, noting that he and Percella had been friends for over 35 years and this was just an attempt to make a quick buck off of the taxpayers.
The City of Bayonne, also named in the suit, is accused of using “obviously improper and overreaching tactics” to delve deeper in Percella’s personal life, according to an October 30th motion to quash the subpoena for telephone records submitted by Elizabeth Foster – counsel for Percella.
However, the attorney for the city, Florio Perucci Steinhardt & Cappelli, LLC partner Teresa Lentini, argued in a November 14th letter brief opposing the motion that Percella has failed to produce all relevant text messages and call logs to date – as well as that the defense needs records to establish the relationship Percella and Davis had before he was elected.
“The production of her cell phone records is directly relevant to the City’s defenses and is reasonable calculated to lead to admissible evidence regarding the frequency, dates, and amount of text messages between Percella and Mayor Davis and her production of the same,” Lentini wrote.
“Plaintiff and Davis knew each other for 35 years. Text messages and communications prior to Davis’ election of mayor in July 2014 are clearly relevant to the defense to establish the relationship of Davis and Plaintiff prior to his election of mayor.”
Hudson County Superior Court Assignment Judge Peter Bariso ruled on the motions on November 22nd, denying Percella’s motion to quash the subpoena to ATT for her cell phone records.
He did not provide an explanation as to why the motion was denied in his written decision and Foster did not return an email seeking comment on the ruling.