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NJ gym owner who defied COVID lockdowns WINS legal battle; ALL CHARGES DROPPED
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NJ gym owner who defied COVID lockdowns WINS legal battle; ALL CHARGES DROPPED

When New Jersey gym owners Ian Smith and Frank Trumbetti defied the Garden State’s COVID-19 regulations by keeping their gym open, the pair were ordered to pay around $165,000 in fines for violating public health emergency rules.

After an almost four-year legal battle, Smith has been cleared of more than 80 charges.

These charges were “thrown at us really to scare us into shutting down,” Smith tells Sara Gonzales. “When that didn’t work, Governor Murphy took those municipal charges as well as a health department shutdown order and went before a judge in New Jersey.”

Murphy asked for a court order to close Smith’s business, which Smith explains is “where a lot of the really tangible, very scary punishments came in.”

“We were being fined $15,497.76 per day for every day that we were in operation. The state took upwards of $200,000 from our bank account,” he explains.

“We had one member arrested, my former co-partner and I were arrested, we had our doors forcibly locked by the sheriff’s department.”

When Smith refused to comply and opened the doors, the sheriff’s department came to lock them again. So they took the doors off the hinges and stayed inside to protest for over a month.

“They arrested us, they held us in criminal and civil contempt at court, so there was a five-year prison sentence hanging over our head at one point from this court order,” he tells Gonzales, who says “it’s making my blood boil all over again just listening to you.”

While it’s been a rough journey for Smith, he’s finally free of those looming charges.

“They were just writing these, they were firing off the hip. They didn’t expect people to push back, and they just panicked. And you know, these people are not used to people wagging a finger in their face and saying no, so they never wanted to touch these cases because nobody wants to put their name on it, because they know it’s unconstitutional,” Smith explains.

“The judge finally had enough, she said, ‘I can’t put these gentlemen through this any longer,’ and you know, she was very clear that this was going to be dismissed with prejudice, meaning the state can’t revisit these charges.”

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BlazeTV Staff

BlazeTV Staff

News, opinion, and entertainment for people who love the American way of life.
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