Thursday, 4:30 PM
Romney aide, targeted in probe, takes leave of absence
Jay Garrity, a longtime aide to Mitt Romney, stood behind the candidate as he prepared to speak at an ice cream social last week in Wapello, Ia. Garrity announced he is taking a leave from Romney’s campaign today after he was accused of impersonating a state trooper.
By Stephanie Ebbert, Globe Staff
Mitt Romney's director of operations is taking a leave of absence from the presidential campaign after becoming the focus of an investigation into allegations that he posed as a state trooper in a recorded phone call complaining about a company's driver, the campaign announced today.
The Globe reported today that Jay Garrity is the primary target in a State Police investigation into a May 13 call to a Wilmington drain and sewer cleaning business, in which a caller complained about the erratic driving of a company van.
During the phone call, a recording of which was made by the answering service and obtained by the Globe, a man calling himself "Trooper Garrity of the Massachusetts State Police" threatens to cite the driver he says he saw speeding and cutting off cars in the Ted Williams Tunnel.
Also this week, the New Hampshire attorney general's office opened an investigation into a charge that a Romney campaign aide -- identified as Garrity -- pulled over a reporter following a campaign vehicle and claimed to have run his license.
"He has taken a leave of absence from the campaign in order to address these complaints," said Kevin Madden, spokesman for the Romney campaign.
A lawyer for Garrity denied both allegations.
"He didn't make the phone call. He has no connection whatsoever to the number that the call was made from," said attorney Stephen Jones. "He has volunteered, in fact insisted, that he wants to have a voice analysis done which will clear him of the fact that somebody is saying he made a phone call."
In the New Hampshire case, Jones acknowledges that Garrity spoke with the reporter who was trailing two campaign vehicles but only after he pulled over behind the campaign caravan, which had stopped to check directions.
"No plate was ever run, he didn't threaten to run his plate. He didn't have to," said Jones. "He knew who he was when he saw him."
The New York Times reported the encounter last Saturday. The attorney general's investigation was spurred by a complaint, according to Jane E. Young, chief of the criminal justice bureau.
These were not the first times Garrity was accused of having law enforcement aspirations.
In 2004, he was cited by Boston police for having police equipment, such as flashing lights, mounted in his Crown Victoria without the proper permits.