Sunday, October 25, 2015

Christie's 'investigators': we didn't take notes because we knew the public would ask for them


After Bridgegate (sigh) threatened to harm New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's ambitions of getting out of his podunk state for good and into the White House, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie took the initiative of hiring, at taxpayer expense, a top-notch law firm to look into all these charges against Chris Christie and whether they had merit. After billing the taxpayers over ten million dollars, Christie's appointed lawyer declared that Chris Christie was innocent of the accusations that he knew what his own staff was doing as they rejiggered traffic on the George Washington Bridge in order to create massive, and potentially dangerous, traffic jams in the town of Fort Lee as retribution against the town's Democratic mayor for, apparently, not liking Chris Christie more. And that was supposed to be the end of it, according to Chris Christie.

As it turns out, however, you can't "exonerate" yourself by hiring ten million dollars worth of non-government lawyer on the taxpayer dime without people suspecting that you're not telling them the whole story, and various groups—most notably, Christie's own accused staffers—have been asking for the notes and other papers compiled by Christie's law firm while they were conducting that taxpayer-funded "investigation." Tough luck, says the law firm, we didn't take any notes. We were winging it! That's how ten million dollar investigations roll, baby!

Got all that? Great, you're back up to speed. And all of that's just preamble to the law firm's new explanation of why it is that a ten million dollar, taxpayer-funded "investigation" compiled absolutely no intermediate information before writing their final ten million dollar report saying golly, it doesn't seem like Chris Christie did anything wrong. According to them, it's because they knew Christie's enemies might come looking for them and so they deliberately didn't write things down.

Now Mastro is offering a new explanation.  His team didn't take notes because we were watching. In a letter dated October 9 to U.S. District Court Judge Susan Wigenton, Mastro wrote of his firm's "experience with extremely sensitive investigations and matters."  He went on to say that his team had "in mind the additional reality that a legislative committee investigation and related -- and often intense -- news media inquiries were ongoing."

Assemblyman John Wisniewski, co-chair of that legislative committee, boiled it down. "They didn't create that material so as not to turn it over," he said in a phone interview.

Well that'll calm the troubled waters. Nothing like explaining that your taxpayer-funded investigation into Chris Christie's dealings as governor didn't take any notes because you were worried the taxpayers might ask to see them. Don't you feel better about Christie's crack legal team now? That ten million bucks looks like a better value every day.

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