It was apparently not enough for Governor Chris Christie’s staff to shut lanes down on the George Washington Bridge violating state and federal law, now the taxpayers of New Jersey are having to pay massive legal bills as Christie and company try to prevent details from the lane closures coming out.
According to documents released last week, the law firm hired by Governor Christie to deal with his legal problems concerned Bridgegate has billed taxpayers $6.51 million for work through April. Gibson Dunn & Crutcher was hired by Christie to defend him and his office with the firm’s most notable achievement being the production of a highly contested report that exonerated Christie from any wrongdoing. Yes, the law firm has been paid millionsin taxpayer dollars to produce a report that says their client is innocent.
Gibson Dunn originally proposed billing the state of New Jersey $650 an hour but eventually agreed to $350 an hour.
The firm submitted bills to the Attorney General’s Office that said in March it had 59 people working on the case and that they charged the state $2.49 million in fees. One lawyer two years out of law school billed for 342 hours that month — or an average of 11 hours every day in March. His taxpayer tab was almost $120,000.
Friday’s disclosure means that the lawyers representing Christie’s office, his staff and those working for the legislative committee investigating the scandal have charged taxpayers $7.87 million, according to bills released so far.
Despite being well compensated the firm has yet to help provide an answer as to where missing text messages related to Bridgegate went. Governor Christie says he can’t remember receiving the text while the aide who sent it, Regina Egea, admits to having deleted it.
Of course with taxpayers covering the millions of dollars Team Christie is racking up in attempts to prevent transparency the investigation into the illegal lanes closures can be dragged out to the point where people may stop caring about it. Unfortunately for Christie the US Attorney may be on a different schedule.
Photo by Bob Jagendorf under Creative Commons license.