Trooper charged in gambling ring resigns from police
A day before he was to appear in court, a New Jersey state trooper charged with running a gambling ring resigned Wednesday from the state police.
Trooper James Harney said in a letter posted on his lawyer's Web site that "my personal judgment has been severely flawed" and apologized for "the disgrace which I have placed upon the Division, myself and my family."
In the letter, Harney didn't spell out exactly what he did wrong.
Authorities say he helped former hockey star Rick Tocchet and a third man run a gambling ring whose bettors included several current NHL players and Janet Jones, the wife of retired star Wayne Gretzky. None of the bettors were likely to be charged, officials have said, but their alleged involvement made a run-of-the-mill gambling bust into a huge sports headline.
NHL officials say they do not believe any of the bets in the alleged ring were on hockey games.
Neither Harney's lawyer, Craig Mitnick, nor state law enforcement officials would say why he had a court appearance scheduled for Thursday.
In his letter to state police Col. Rick Fuentes, Harney was vague but contrite: "The scar that I have placed upon the Division is inexcusable and was never contemplated by me. My actions must be judged personally and should not reflect upon any of your members as they are good, honest and hardworking individuals."
Harney and Tocchet, both 40, became friendly more than a decade ago when Harney was bartending in Philadelphia and Tocchet was playing for the Philadelphia Flyers.
After they were charged in February, Harney was suspended from the state police and Tocchet took an indefinite leave of absence from his job as the top assistant coach of the Phoenix Coyotes, who are led by Gretzky.
Both of them, along with James Ulmer, face charges of promoting gambling, money laundering and conspiracy.
Harney, who lives in Evesham, was also charged with official misconduct.
Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press
MORE NHL HEADLINES
- Avalanche announce 2-year deal for O'Reilly
- Kreider, Rangers able to avoid arbitration
- Free agent Sarich injured in cycling accident
- Vanek helping authorities in federal probe
MOST SENT STORIES ON ESPN.COM
Coyotes assistant coach Rick Tocchet pleaded guilty and got two years probation for running a sports gambling ring that took in millions of dollars in bets.
• Tocchet rejoins Coyotes after suspension
• Tocchet ready to rejoin Coyotes
• Tocchet ban extended until at least February
• Third man in ring sentenced to probation
• Tocchet gets two years probation
• Tocchet pleads guilty, may avoid jail time
• Tocchet to appear in court
• One year later, Tocchet still in legal limbo
• Man pleads guilty to bookmaking
• Report: Second man to plead guilty
• Cop's sentencing postponed
• Trooper pleads guilty, will cooperate against Tocchet
• Trooper to appear in court
• Groundwork laid for lawsuit
• Burnside: Probe initially shows no evidence of NHL bets
• Jones Gretzky to be subpoenaed
• Report: FBI inadvertently tipped NHL
• NHL says no evidence players bet on games in illegal ring
• Attorney: Gretzky won't be charged
• Tocchet court appearance waived
• Jones Gretzky unlikely to be charged
• Lawyer: No mob connection
• Trooper charged in betting ring downplays allegations
• Kreidler: Gretzky can't shy away
• Burnside: Desert Storm
• Burnside: Hockey's black eye
• Hradek: Bad day for hockey
• Merron: Past gambling scandals
• Tocchet summons
• Additional coverage