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McGreevey 'Fall to Grace' Documentary Earns Spot at Sundance Festival

The volunteer work of the former NJ governor and longtime mayor of Woodbridge will be highlighted in a new film to be aired on HBO in March.


A documentary outlining the jailhouse ministery of former New Jersey Gov. Jim McGreevey has earned a spot at the renowned Sundance Film Festival.

'Fall to Grace', was produced and directed by Alexandra Pelosi, daughter of former House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The film, created for HBO which will air in March, records the efforts of McGreevey to help reform the lives of women in a Hudson County jail.

Pelosi was intrigued by McGreevey, whom she called a "reformed politician" in an interview with Reuters.

"They wouldn't let him move on ... everyone writes him off because of some mistake he made before," Pelosi said.

The 'mistake' was an affair that the twice-married McGreevey had with another man while he was governor. McGreevey hired Golan Cipel, an Israel national and a former member of the Israeli Coast Guard, to head NJ's Homeland Security efforts. Indications that the affair with Cipel was about to erupt caused McGreevey to publicly resign in 2004, after calling himself "a gay American."

McGreevey, who started his political life as mayor of Woodbridge in 1991, entered an Episcopalian seminary after his gubernatorial resignation. He was also hired as a professor of Ethics at Kean University.

One of the requirements of his efforts to become an Episcopalian priest was to work helping those in need. That led to McGreevey to the Hudson County Correctional Center, where he volunteers for Integrity House, a substance abuse rehabilitation program.

McGreevey's mission has been to work with incarcerated women and helping them overcome drug addiction. That was the man whom Pelosi followed around for more than a year, documenting his efforts to help the jailed female inmates.

The former governor's attempts to become a priest have been put on hold, but he still continues his work with Integrity House. He also plans to attend the Sundance Festival where the film on his work will be showcased.

"I'm a broken person and many of us are broken," McGreevey told Reuters. "I don't always make the right decisions. I have failed, but that's everyone. Women in jail are also deserving of the same transformation and same redemption."

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