TRENTON — Politics were put aside when the Rev. Joe Carter fainted at the State of the State address at the Statehouse and a political nemesis of Gov. Chris Christie's came to the preacher's aide.

William Brennan, a retired firefighter from Teaneck who has filed a criminal misconduct complaint against Christie in the Bridgegate case and who is running for governor, said he was seated on the Republican side of the Assembly chamber when he noticed a commotion.

"When you're involved in first response there's a tone that just sets you off and I heard somebody call out 'we need an EMT' and it was said with stress. I was just moving. I wasn't really cognizant of who was around. I got over to the scene and there were people e around and it was decided to take him out of the chamber and bring him into the small room behind," Brennan said.

As he began to take Carter's vitals, and a medic came in and began tending to the pastor.

Brennan said that Christie had resumed speaking when he returned to the chambers and decided it would be inappropriate to walk in front of the state Supreme Court justices to return to his seat. The State Police officer suggested he take Carter's seat since he wasn't coming back.

He said he wound up next to a young woman related to Carter.  In front of him was Christie's wife, Mary Pat, and their children.

"It was not comfortable for me, either. I didn't want to be there but I thought I would make the best of it. We took a few pictures."

Brennan said has has "a lot of problems with Gov. Christie but I  don't have a problem with his effort to combat the opioid addiction" and has "nothing but respect for the governor's family."

Superior Court Judge Bonnie Mizdol on Thursday reversed the municipal court finding of probable cause in Brennan's complaint and sent the case back to the lower court for a new hearing on the issue. In her ruling, Mizdol also refused a request from Christie's attorneys to dismiss Brennan's complaint entirely.

Brennan, who lives in Wayne, is also running for governor as a Democrat.

Carter's church, the New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, said that the pastor was dehydrated  and is doing better.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at

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