Tuesday, May 13, 2014
Today's marathon (seven hour!) testimony from a calm, respectful Michael Drewniak, the governor's colorfully-spoken spokesman (and unofficial liaison between the Port Authority and the governor's office), focused not on the Big Bridgegate Questions (who did this, and why?), but rather on a secondary question: Was there a cover-up?
Drewniak's testimony, ...
Monday, May 05, 2014
Just one email.
The internal review of the office of Gov. Chris Christie in the wake of the Bridgegate and Sandy funding scandals yielded 4,612 pages —that included summaries of interviews with 75 people, plus dozens of emails and text messages from top Christie staffers. But the only shred of ...
Wednesday, April 30, 2014
The Republicans on the New Jersey Legislature's Bridgegate committee are getting angry.
"The committee's leadership and operations have demonstrated that the committee's purpose turned from an inquiry into the clearly flawed inner-workings of the Port Authority, into a political vehicle designed to damage the governor's standing and popularity," the Republicans ...
Tuesday, April 29, 2014
Legislative investigators have sent a letter to former Port Authority Chairman David Samson, who resigned amid investigations over his role in Bridgegate and his business practices, mandating that he turn over documents that were requested more than three months ago.
Assemblyman John Wisniewski, the Democrat who co-chairs the Legislature's investigative ...
Sunday, April 27, 2014
Chris Christie has picked yet another fight. This time, with the state of Colorado. The response from the Rockies was initially mild. Then it got ugly.
In recent weeks Christie has fielded an inordinate number of questions about the legalization of marijuana. He is, as always, unequivocal in his opposition, ...
Wednesday, April 23, 2014
In an unusually stormy meeting, the embattled state Ethics Commission placated protesters by confirming that it is investigating former Port Authority Chairman David Samson. It also confirmed that the commission is dropping a five-year-old ethics complaint against a state union leader.
For Ethics Commission Chairman Andrew Berns, the media scrutiny ...
Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Christie talks in DC, but not many Democrats were around to hear the message.
Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Neighbors say they watched firefighters try to resuscitate two 4-year-old siblings as they waited for an ambulance that was dispatched late.
Friday, April 18, 2014
As part of the internal review into the scandals whirling around New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, lawyers recommended the governor hire an ombudsman. On Friday, Christie announced that he appointed Patrick Hobbs for the position.
Hometown: Basking Ridge
Experience: Seton Hall Law School Dean and chair ...
Friday, April 18, 2014
Delays in New Jersey's medical marijuana program have desperate parents importing it from other states, and making their own concoctions for young and disabled children.
Thursday, April 17, 2014
Once upon a time, the U.S. Attorney in Newark was investigating the governor in Trenton for corruption. Today, that U.S. Attorney, Chris Christie, is now a governor under investigation himself by a different U.S. Attorney, and he has formed an unlikely friendship with Jim McGreevey, the former governor he once ...
Thursday, April 10, 2014
On May 13, 2013, Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno had a now notorious chat with the mayor of Hoboken, Dawn Zimmer, in the parking lot of a Sandy-damaged ShopRite.
Zimmer remembers Guadagno threatening her: If she didn’t approve a development project run by the Rockefeller Group, which was represented by Bridgegate-embroiled ...
Wednesday, April 09, 2014
In a victory for both Gov. Chris Christie and his former aides, a New Jersey judge has ruled that two key figures in the Bridgegate scandal do not have to turn over documents to a state legislative panel.
The 98-page ruling says Bridget Kelly, the former deputy chief of staff who wrote the "time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee" email, and Bill Stepien, Christie's former political adviser and campaign manager, do not have to comply with the Legislature's subpoenas. While the Democrats who control the state Legislature's investigative committee have successfully obtained documents from dozens of people, Stepien and Kelly were thought to have correspondence and other documents that could link the scandal to Christie to find out what he knew, and when.
Without these documents, the Legislature's investigation -- a major headache for the governor -- is severely curtailed.
In a hearing last month in Trenton, attorneys for the pair fought the Legislature's subpoenas and argued that the Fifth Amendment protects them from incriminating themselves. Mercer County Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobson agreed, finding that given an active federal investigation into the scandal, self-incrimination was a real possibility. Although the committee argued that self-incrimination wasn't inevitable, Jacobson cited media reports and public comments by legislators to conclude that Stepien and Kelly may be under investigation by federal authorities for state crimes like official misconduct, in addition to federal offenses.
And, Jacobson ruled, even documents that show the defendants were doing government business on government time with government email accounts, the Fifth Amendment trumps any rule requiring workers to maintain public documents.
Stepien and Kelly also argued that the Fourth Amendment protects them from unreasonable searches and seizures -- a point Jacobson also agreed with, saying that the Legislature was on "a fishing expedition" asking for too broad of a range of documents. And, she said, the committee unjustly assumed that documents exist: "The Committee's sole argument is that since it is in possession of documents that reveal communications between Mr. Stepien/Ms. Kelly and David Wildstein [the Port Authority official who initiated the lane closures], further communications with an undetermined number of individuals about the lane closures must be in the possession of defendants."
Jacobson noted that the case was "challenging," presenting a "highly unusual" set of circumstances with little in the way of precedent.
For the legislative committee, an appeal is an option. But Jacobson offered other options, saying that she believes the committee has the power to grant immunity to Stepien and Kelly, thereby protecting them from prosecution based on the documents they provide. She also noted that if the Legislature granted immunity to Stepien and Kelly, that doesn't mean Stepien's evidence couldn't be used against Kelly in a criminal proceeding, and vice versa. Plus, Jacobson said, if emails involving Stepien or Kelly are held by a third party, that person or entity could be subpoenaed without violating their Fifth Amendment rights.
The legislative committee said in a statement that it will consider alternatives to get the information.
Stepien's attorney, Kevin Marino, said the ruling "represents a complete vindication of Bill Stepien." He said the committee "wasted the taxpayers' money -- and the nation's time -- on a frivolous lawsuit to enforce a clearly invalid subpoena."
And Kelly's attorney, Michael Critchley, said the ruling provided "a free tutorial on the protections the Fifth Amendment affords all citizens."
Thursday, March 27, 2014
The "Sheldon Primary" is being held this weekend, and Chris Christie is a contender.
The gov is headed to Las Vegas Saturday, where he will join several Republican presidential candidates for a meeting of the Republican Jewish Coalition. But the real action will be around casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who ...
Tuesday, March 25, 2014
Christie's office is expected to release an internal review of the scandals enveloping his administration, particularly Bridgegate. Here's a primer on things to consider when the report is released.
Friday, March 21, 2014
Opponents say the law requires taxpayers to subsidize those who choose to live in risky areas
Friday, March 14, 2014
Thursday, March 13, 2014
After spending 25 years in their Sayreville, NJ, home, Theresa and Marty Kuczynskis watched as it was reduced to rubble in only 30 minutes.
Tuesday, March 11, 2014
Live coverage of the first major court battle of what could be many in the Bridgegate saga: two former top aides to Gov. Christie are fighting Democratic attempts to subpoena their documents.