DeGise left the courtroom without making any comments or answering questions from reporters in attendance. Before Tuesday, she had yet to apologize for the hit-and-run and her attorney said after the hearing thathe had advised her not to apologize because she may be sued in civil court by the bicyclist.
But in a statement she issued Tuesday, DeGise said that last summer she’d “made a mistake that I will regret for the rest of my life,” NJ.com reports.
“I want to offer my heartfelt apology to Andrew Black and I am thankful that he was not hurt,” she said in the statement. “I also want to apologize to the people of Jersey City for not only my actions, but for the negative attention they brought to our wonderful community.”
The hit-and-run and six-hour delay before DeGise turned herself in has been a political problem for the councilmember.. Thousands of Jersey City residents have signed a petition calling for her to resign.
She was elected to the city council in 2021 on the slate of Mayor Steven Fulop, and her father wields enormous power in Hudson County. He attended the court hearing, as did Essex County Sheriff Armando Fontoura and Essex County Prosecutor Theodore Stevens.
She works at a county high school and was elected to run the party’s county committee in 2018 before stepping down last year amid a power-sharing deal among political factions.
Surveillance video of the hit-and-run went viral and then residents called for her resignation during five hours of public comments at an August city council meeting.
“I am not resigning,” DeGise said at the August council meeting.
Only two members of the City Council have called on her to resign. Mayor Steven Fulop and Governor Phil Murphy have refused to do so, each saying the legal process should play out. Neither has committed to calling for her resignation in the event of a guilty verdict..
In a wave of negative attention that followed the hit-and-run, video from a police-worn body cam was published by the Hudson County View, showing DeGise in 2019 trying to stop a Hoboken police officer from towing her illegally parked SUV, which also had a vehicle registration that had expired two years before. On the video, she then tells the officer she’s called the mayor’s office.
In court, her attorney acknowledged that she also had multiple outstanding parking tickets that had not been paid at the time of the accident.
“But there are no [previous] transferring violations in her nearly 20-year historical past as a driver,” Neary instructed the court docket. “Concededly, she has a number of motor vehicle parking summonses that were not taken care of.”
However he stated DeGise had realized her lesson about paying these tickets.
Neary additionally stated DeGise was by no means issued a ticket for careless or reckless driving associated to the hit-and-run, and stated that must be an element the choose considers in handing down the sentence.