NJ reporter tells of getting sex tape

MAYS LANDING, N.J. - October 15, 2009 And just for good measure, the note took one last jab at "Councilman/Minister Eugene Robinson," noting the recording showed the girl smoking cigarettes.

"So much for his anti-smoking stance," the note read.

Robinson, who was a leading proponent of Atlantic City's unsuccessful effort to ban smoking in its casinos, had bigger problems than political inconsistency once radio talk show host Virginia McCabe - the recipient of the manila envelope - aired a report on the tape.

An investigation led to criminal charges against former Council President Craig Callaway, his brothers Ronald and David, friend Floyd Tally, and incumbent Councilman John Schultz.

The woman in the tape, Kristyn Haino, was 24 at the time. She has testified that she was hired by a group including the Callaways and Floyd to lure Robinson to the motel and have sex with him, making sure to get him to hand her money before the sex act took place.

Ronald and David Callaway and Floyd are on trial for conspiracy, criminal coercion and invasion of privacy in the case.

Robinson has testified he thought the sex was consensual, and the money he gave her was to buy soda, at her request.

But the incident damaged Robinson's reputation, and his health took a drastic turn for the worse. The 67-year-old now lives in a nursing home, uses a wheelchair, takes eight prescription drugs a day and has missed months of council meetings.

He's stepping down at the end of the year.

McCabe testified Thursday she got a call in her office from someone claiming to have a recording of an Atlantic City elected official having sex with an underage prostitute.

The first thing she asked him was, "Do you have audio and video?"

McCabe said she was skeptical and wary at first, particularly when the man who said his name was "Tim" asked her to meet him. Finally, she decided to look into it.

"If this is true, this is going to be one hell of a story," she recalled thinking to herself.

She drove to the chosen location at the appointed time, leaving the engine running in case she needed to get away quickly. Before long, a man sidled up to her car and stood there with his back turned to her.

"Are you Tim?" she asked. "He just grunted in assent. He just went, 'Mmm."'

The man was wearing two coats, large sunglasses "like Jackie Onassis wore," she said, and a hat. She said she couldn't be sure whether he had a slight beard and mustache, or whether it was just a shadow crossing his face.

He took one hand out of his coat, and, wearing a surgical glove, handed her a manila envelope addressed to her. Inside was a DVD along with a note that read "Councilman/Minister Eugene Robinson picked up a 16-year-old white female prostitute" and paid her "to perform various sexual acts on him."

The note said the city of Atlantic City might be liable for damages relating to his conduct because Robinson was wearing his official city-issued identification badge in the video.

On her Web site, McCabe said she contacted the FBI and handed over the tape because she thought it might show the sexual exploitation of a minor.

"I was told that I must not speak to anybody, and they stressed anybody, about handing over the tape," she wrote in March 2007. "I agreed to do this until the crime was solved, but I reserved the right to continue to report on the news story. I didn't know then that they already knew about it. They knew who the suspects were."

Craig Callaway admitted last year he had masterminded the plot and was sentenced to three years in prison, to be served at the same time as a 40-month federal prison term in an unrelated bribery case. Schultz was admitted to a pretrial intervention program that allows him to avoid prosecution.

His role involved finding someone to help digitally blur Haino's face in the recording.

The prosecution rested its case Thursday. Defense lawyers indicated they may try to call Craig Callaway, who is in a federal prison in West Virginia, to testify on behalf of his brothers and Tally next week.

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