This is a quick analysis of a 1981 Courier-Post article highlighting some of the major inconsistencies with what Edward Kent stated during his court testimony and what actually took place during Michelle’s adoption process. This post briefly discusses these critical issues and questions why the court, and the State of New Jersey, did not do more to review the adoptions Kent arranged once they discovered what he had done.
Much of the information in this article, which was taken directly from Kent’s sworn testimony, contradicts Hollie’s experiences and also many of the details provided to Michelle by her adoptive father in 2017.
This post also discusses testimony provided by another biological mother involved in the case (not Hollie) whom Kent offered money to lie to investigators about his involvement. Though we currently do not have evidence, it seems very possible this woman was manipulated by Kent, or someone on his behalf, into withholding information during her testimony. Again, we currently do not have any evidence to prove this, but her testimony about forgetting virtually everything about the adoption of her baby is very troubling and honestly difficult to believe.
Here is the original article text: Our brief analysis is provided below in italics below the bold red sections.
CAMDEN — A woman who was to have been the state’s chief witness against a Willingboro lawyer charged with acting as an illegal intermediary in a series of adoptions was able to recall only sketchy information about the case yesterday. When first called by Deputy Attorney General Nancy Singer, the woman said she couldn’t remember anything about her pregnancy in 1977, her meeting with attorney Edward Kent or the couple who adopted her baby.
It is extremely difficult to believe this woman was unable to remember anything about her pregnancy or the adoption of her baby just a few years earlier, despite previously providing hours of testimony for the investigation. While this understandably could have have been a very traumatic experience for her, even under the worst circumstances it seems more likely that a woman would remember some details about this type of experience. It seems more plausible that she was scared and/or being influenced in some way by Edward Kent, or someone on his behalf, into withholding information–especially since he previously attempted to bribe her to lie to investigators. This influence could have been in the form of payment, blackmail, threats, bullying, fear tactics, manipulation, etc. Again, we have no evidence at this time to support these claims except for what we’ve already established on this website that proves Kent’s willingness to lie, his pattern of manipulating vulnerable young women, and his repeated disregard for the law that he took a professional oath to uphold.
Here is a quote from a 1978 Courier-Post article discussing his attempt to bribe her: [read full article]
“The indictment also charges that when Kent learned that the Camden County prosecutor’s office was investigating circumstances surrounding the placement of the children, he tried to convince one of the mothers to mislead investigators and withhold information. It further charges that Kent offered to pay the mother if she lied to investigators.”
When pressed by Superior Court Judge Peter J. Coruzzi, the witness remembered coming to the Camden Courthouse in February 1978 to testify in connection with an investigation of three adoptions. But she couldn’t recall whether she lied during that testimony. She gave birth to a baby May 1, 1977, and turned it over five days later to a woman she could not identify. At the time, she was living in Burlington Township. Despite strong objections from defense attorney Carl Poplar, Singer read portions of her grand jury testimony into the record. The case is being heard without a jury.
It is strange that Kent’s attorney would object to the testimony of one of the biological mothers if Kent actually acted in “limited capacity” as he claimed. If that were the case, her testimony should have been welcomed by the defense because it would have supported claims that he was not as involved in the adoptions as he was being charged with. It is very unfortunate that the judge and district attorney general didn’t press harder to not only ensure justice for Kent, but also for the biological mothers and babies involved. Based on the obvious issues with the adoptions, a separate investigation should have been immediately initiated by the State of New Jersey (DYFS) to ensure these children were placed with families actually fit to adopt. In 2019, Michelle confirmed with DYFS (now DCF) that this vital investigation never took place.
Six days of pre-trial motions were needed to compile transcripts of tape recorded conversations between Kent and yesterday’s witness. Poplar is expected to ask the court to exclude some of these tapes from evidence. Kent, 55, is charged with obstruction of justice and three counts of acting as an intermediary in the adoptions. Poplar said his client, who specializes in matrimonial matters, did tell pregnant women who did not want to keep their children after birth that he would pass on their names to couples seeking to adopt children. Poplar said Kent told both the natural and adoptive parents that he could not make any arrangements for the adoption. He said Kent’s involvement ended at that point.
We cannot express enough how false this statement is. After Michelle’s birth, Kent’s involvement with Hollie greatly increased despite the fact that she was a minor and that he was not legally representing her. Kent was also heavily involved with Michelle’s adoptive parents who had paid him an initial fee in early 1976 to find them a white newborn baby.
Yesterday’s witness said she met Kent only once prior to the birth of her child and that she called him to set up the meeting. She did not speak to him again until requested to do so by members of the Camden County prosecutor’s staff, who were investigating allegations that the lawyer participated in several adoptions.
Again, this is all very difficult to believe considering Kent’s very heavy involvement with Hollie after Michelle’s birth. This sounds like something Kent instructed her to say.
The adoptions occurred between December 1976 and May 1977.
During pre-trial motions in the case last week, reporters agreed to withhold the names of the women who gave up their children for adoption and the couples who adopted the babies.
View Original Article: Click here to view a JPG of the original newspaper article
You can read more of the articles about this case here.