Christie Lawyers to Release Bridge Inquiry Findings TodayDavid Voreacos
A law firm working for New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said that today it will release an internal investigation into manufactured traffic jams at the George Washington Bridge.
Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP will post its report online, and attorney Randy Mastro will discuss the findings, according to a firm statement. The New York Times reported this week that Gibson Dunn will conclude that Christie wasn’t involved in the planning or execution of lane closures at the bridge, which tied up traffic from Sept. 9 to Sept. 12 in Fort Lee, New Jersey.
Fort Lee’s mayor, a Democrat, has said he believes the traffic jams were payback for not endorsing the re-election last fall of Christie, a Republican eying a White House run in 2016. State Democrats have questioned the value of Mastro’s review, which lacked cooperation from two former Christie aides at the center of the scandal, Bridget Anne Kelly and William Stepien.
Christie, speaking yesterday on his monthly “Ask The Governor” radio program, said the review was more than 300 pages and he began reading it this morning.
“It would be irresponsible for me to comment before I finished reading the whole thing,” he said.
“From the very beginning, Governor Christie has made clear that the Gibson Dunn review team’s mandate is to get to the truth, no matter what it is,” Maria Comella, Christie’s communications director, said this week in a statement.
“They have been given unfettered access to governor’s office staff, documents and other forms of communication to ensure they are able to provide as exhaustive a report as possible and to make substantive recommendations for improvements, as warranted,” Comella said.
The Gibson Dunn report comes amid a criminal investigation by U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman and a probe by state lawmakers, who have issued about three dozen subpoenas as the Democratic-led review enters its third month. Christie’s approval ratings dropped 20 percentage points since his re-election in November.
Stepien, the governor’s former campaign manager, and Kelly, a former deputy chief of staff, have refused to turn over documents to the legislative panel and have invoked their Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination.
Christie in January cut ties to Stepien and fired Kelly, who sent an Aug. 13 e-mail to David Wildstein, then a Christie ally at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, that said: “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee.” Wildstein, who ordered the closings, replied: “Got it.” He later resigned.
Dawn Zimmer, the Hoboken mayor who said Christie’s administration threatened to withhold Hurricane Sandy aid if she didn’t back a real-estate project, rebuffed a request to be interviewed by Mastro. Gibson Dunn will also discuss the Hoboken claims, according to the firm.