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Who was that masked man?

June 25, 2007 |  4:03 pm

Jay Garrity, a longtime top aide to Mitt Romney, has taken a leave of absence from his boss' presidential campaign as officials in two states look into allegations of transgressions, including that he impersonated a Massachusetts state trooper.

Mitt3_2 In a story first reported by the Boston Globe, someone using a cell phone linked to the aide identified himself as “Trooper Garrity” in a voicemail left at a plumbing company office on Mother’s Day that complained about the driving of one of the firm’s employees. Garrity’s lawyer denied Garrity made the call.

Pretending to be a cop is illegal in Massachusetts --– no surprise.

Garrity has served as Romney’s director of operations, which means he’s been responsible for getting him from event to event and played a key role in determining who has access to the candidate. The job is similar to the one he had when Romney was governor of Massachusetts.

Romney on Monday described Garrity to reporters as “a good guy” and wished “him the very best, but this is really now in his hands.”

In another incident, New York Times’ reporter Mark Leibovich recently alleged that Garrity went "Five-O" on him, too.

The reporter wrote that as he was trailing Romney’s SUV between events in New Hampshire, Romney’s vehicle led Leibovich's car to the side of the road, whereupon Garrity got out, approached the reporter, told him he had run the license plate of the rental and that he could not follow the candidate.

New Hampshire law bars civilians from accessing the state’s drivers license database, and the state attorney general’s office is investigating the matter.

Garrity seems to have an affinity for cops. In 2004, he was fined after police lights, a siren, radios and other law enforcement equipment --- including a baton --- were found in his Ford Crown Victoria. The gear was discovered when Garrity, then working for Romney, was parked illegally in Boston's North End.

Unreported was how far the car was from a Dunkin’ Donuts.

--- Scott Martelle

Photo: Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney; Credit: John Russell /AP