Blue Jersey was shut out of yesterday’s press conference at the United States Attorney’s office at the Federal Building in Newark. I’d like to know why.
I was given some reasons, by the United States Attorney’s Office spokesman, Michael Drewniak, but the reasons given were multiple and inconsistent enough that it leaves reasonable people wondering whether the Drewniak’s position is credible. It leaves us wondering whether the decision on the US Attorney’s Office’s part wasn’t a political one.
Chris Christie is the former United States Attorney for New Jersey. He has based much of his campaign on his record as US Attorney. So it’s entirely fair for news organizations to examine that record, as he runs for the state’s highest office.
In examining his tenure as USA, Blue Jersey has thrown the spotlight on decisions that raise the question of corruption or abuse of his powers. These include the warrantless tracking of cell phones used by New Jerseyans, lucrative Deferred Prosecution Agreement contracts doled out to political cronies like John Ashcroft, or as reward for sparing Christie’s brother from prosecution himself. Millions of dollars are at issue, dollars that consumers pay as corporations pay for the monitors Christie appointed to handle the state’s Deferred Prosecution Agreements under his purview. And there’s enough smoke that two of New Jersey’s congressmen believe Christie abused his authority as US Attorney. Clearly, we’re not the only ones with suspicions.
Some background on the press conference:
It was announced as a joint effort of the FBI and the United States Attorney’s office. I called FBI HQ in Newark and was told the press office was too busy to take calls but arrangements to attend could be made by email.
My email (10:08am) carried my name, title, Blue Jersey and its url, with my phone number:
On today’s corruption raid, would you please let me know time, location and credentialing for today’s press conference?
Response (10:10am) from SA Bryan L. Travers, Public Affairs Office, FBI:
12 noon at U.S. Attorney’s office.
My inquiry about credentialing was met with nothing but the time and place for me to show up. And so I did, early.
I made repeated attempts to access the information, if Drewniak was making sure I could not access the room. Asked if the audio could be piped into another room (this is when I thought others would also be shut out, during the time he told me space was the issue, and before reporters who arrived way after I did were given access), or if I could stand or sit out in the hall and listen in as it happened. I was told neither was possible. Fine. Maybe it wasn’t.
But I was also told other organizations were denied access. I asked four times what the names of those organizations were. I was never told that. And I saw no one else there – except for the attorneys and the photographer arriving as it was ending – who was denied access.
Blue Jersey has asked Drewniak three times – during the beginning of our coverage of Christie – to be added to the US Attorney’s distribution list for press releases. We are on the press list for scores of elected officials of both parties,
Blue Jersey has always been out front in calling out corruption in NJ, in both parties.
Cryan’s decision to use Party resources only for HRC.
Sharpe James – Adam
WHen I said I had heard from the FBI press office he said, Well that’s not us, and essentially denied tha t the FBI had any say in the matter.