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Citizen withdrawscomplaint against N.J. governor

A man withdrew his complaint against Gov. Jon S. Corzine failing to wear a seat belt when hi was seriously wounded in the car crash. State police have not yet decided whether to ticket the governor.

The complaint filed by Larry Angel was withdrawn just as a judge was to decide whether to approve the complaint. Corzine was released from a hospital Monday and apologized for not wearing his seat belt when his official sport utility vehicle crashed on April 12.

"I was troubled initially that neither the governor nor anybody in his office seemed to take responsibility," Angel said Tuesday. "He obviously, if you listened to his statements, seemed to me to credibly take responsibility. I don't think those were crocodile tears or emotion on the part of the governor."

Corzine asked for the state's forgiveness and said he understood he had set a poor example. "I'll work very hard to try to set the right kind of example to make a difference in people's lives as we go forward," he said Monday.

The court action was canceled since Angel withdrew the complaint, said Roseanne Lugg, the Galloway court administrator.

Angel, 65, is a frequent critic of public officials and has run unsuccessfully for office himself.

Angel's complaint had alleged Corzine violated state law by failing to wear his seat belt when his official vehicle, driven by a state trooper at 91 mph (146 kph), crashed on the Garden State Parkway.

State law requires all front seat passengers wear a seat belt; Corzine was in the front passenger seat. Violators face a $46 (EUR34) fine, and Tom Shea, Corzine's chief of staff, has said the governor should be ticketed if he was not buckled up.

State Police Lt. Gerald Lewis said no decision would be made on whether to charge Corzine until an investigation is completed.

A special state police review board, which reviews all crashes and pursuits involving troopers, began investigating the accident Monday. If the crash is deemed preventable, Corzine's driver may face training or disciplinary actions.

Corzine fractured his left thigh, 11 ribs, his breastbone and other bones. Doctors operated on him three times and inserted a metal rod to stabilize his leg.

The state police report said he was thrown about inside the vehicle. His driver was not seriously injured.

Corzine was slated to undergo three physical therapy sessions Tuesday, his first day back to the governor's mansion in Princeton. He faces months of rehabilitation and is not likely to be able to walk without crutches or a cane for at least six months.

Corzine, a multimillionaire, is personally paying for his medical treatment.

The governor's mansion, parts of which date to 1835, is being modified to accommodate Corzine's rehabilitation and to allow him to conduct state business from there, though Senate President Richard J. Codey will continue as acting governor until Corzine is able to resume his duties.

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