Governor Chris Christie’s legal strategy to deal with Bridgegate and a scandal involving the misuse of Sandy aid is raising eyebrows. Under the guise of an “internal investigation” of the governor’s office, a lawyer representing Governor Christie has been going around to key witnesses demanding documents and other information that could be used in any prosecution of the governor’s office or Governor Christie himself. The unorthodox and inappropriate behavior of Governor Christie’s lawyer is already leading to discussions over whether what is being done counts as witness tampering.
Governor Christie’s lawyer has already demanded information from Mayor Dawn Zimmer on her allegations concerning a power play that involved taking Sandy aid hostage to extort agreement on authorizing a real estate project for a politically connected developer.
A team of attorneys retained by Governor Christie’s office in the aftermath of the George Washington Bridge scandal is seeking documents and a private interview with the Hoboken mayor, whose explosive allegations have added to the governor’s woes… But Zimmer, who has already met with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and gave authorities a journal in which she recounted the alleged threat delivered by Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, declined the invitation.
“We question whether it is appropriate for the Governor’s Office, in essence, to be investigating itself, particularly when an investigation of the same subject matter is being conducted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office,” Zimmer’s attorney wrote in a reply letter sent to Mastro on Thursday. The Christie administration and Guadagno have denied Zimmer’s claims.
Governor Christie’s lawyer has also reportedly contacted Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich in hopes of learning more information concerning his allegations and what he told the US Attorney’s office. Mayor Sokolich recently disclosed that the Christie 2013 Campaign did in fact ask for his endorsement.
The inappropriate push by Governor Christie’s lawyer for information from witnesses involved in a case against the governor’s office comes amidst 18 new subpoenas being issued by the New Jersey legislature’s Special Investigative Committee. The new subpoenas were authorized in the same session that rejected Fifth Amendment defenses by former Christie Deputy Chief of Staff Bridget Kelly and former Christie Campaign Manager Bill Stepien.
The investigation is just getting started and still no one knows exactly why those access lanes to the George Washington Bridge were closed.