New Jersey man faces jail for refusing to take down Trump flag

Hornick has displayed the blue flag with Trump's campaign slogan

Reuters April 09, 2016
Hornick has displayed the blue flag with Trump's campaign slogan. PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK: Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump appears to have a passionate supporter in Joseph Hornick, a New Jersey man who faces a $2,000 fine or 90 days in jail for flying a flag emblazoned with the billionaire candidate's name over his home.

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Local officials said the flag violates an ordinance prohibiting the display of political signs more than 30 days ahead of an election and issued him a summons. New Jersey's primary is on June 7.

For weeks, Hornick has displayed the blue flag with Trump's "Make America Great Again!" campaign slogan on a pole outside his two-story West Long Branch house, at a busy intersection near Monmouth University, in a show of his support for Trump. Trump has been campaigning this week in neighboring New York in an effort to snag the Republican presidential nomination.

Despite being issued a summons on March 25 for the violation, Hornick apparently intends to keep it up.

"The fine can be in the Millions of dollars! That flag will never come down!" he wrote in a defiant Facebook post.

Hornick did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Lori Cole, West Long Branch's clerk, said on Friday that Hornick, 54, could also face 90 days in jail as a maximum penalty if a judge determines he is in violation of the law.

"It just came up recently," she said of the controversy.

Brian Hegarty, a former Democratic Party councilman, complained to authorities about Hornick's flag, according to a March 25 police report.

Hegarty told police that he had complained several times about the flag to a code enforcement official, but no action was taken. Sergeant James Gomez in the report said Hornick initially agreed to take down the flag before speaking with his attorney.

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"He advised on the advice of an attorney he would not be removing the flag and would fight any summons issued to him," Gomez wrote.

Hornick is scheduled to appear in court on April 20.


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