- TRENTON – It's another blow for Ed "NJ Weedman" Forchion.
On Thursday Superior Court Judge Peter Warshaw denied Forchion's motion to reclaim his belongings – most notably cameras, videos and computer hard drives – that were confiscated during a police raid of his business in April.
Mercer County Assistant Prosecutor Stephanie Katz said at the hearing Thursday that the state would maintain the videos and other evidence in their original state and that they would make the evidence available once they were done processing it.
It's the latest hit for Forchion, who owns a restaurant and "pot temple" on East State Street and has been involved in a legal battle with police and the city of Trenton since February. It started when police said they were called to Forchion's establishment for a 30-person street fight. In April, Forchion said police were lying about the fight and that he had video evidence to prove it.
Shortly after Forchion made that rebuttal, police executed a search warrant and raided his establishment, charging Forchion with drug offenses and confiscating the videos that he says captured the moment outside his restaurant in February.
Police said the raid was the result of a two-month investigation into Forchion's drug activity at the establishment; Forchion claims they were coming specifically for his videos, prompting his attorney, Edward Heyburn, to file the motion.
During Forchion's court appearance Thursday, Heyburn argued Forchion is "entitled to that property," and that the videos could show police were lying about the February incident. He added that the state has not given him an affidavit of probable cause from the incident.
But Warshaw countered that Heyburn should not bring the validity of the warrant into question because the hearing Thursday was held just to consider the motion to return Forchion's belongings.
"This is not a motion dealing with the integrity of the warrant," Warshaw said.
After Warshaw's decision Thursday, Heyburn, Forchion and Forchion's supporters gathered outside the courthouse where some supporters held up signs and Forchion defiantly took a hit from a marijuana pipe.
Heyburn said he plans to file a motion to suppress the evidence taken in the raid.He also raised concerns about the state not turning over the affidavit.
"How can I fight this argument if they're withholding evidence," he asked.
Forchion, who was indicted on 11 charges this week following the April raid, will appear in court again on August 23rd for his arraignment.