Tag Archive: lawyers

GIRLS: Chris Christie’s belittling, 1950s, sexist jerkwater POV on Bridget Kelly

Emotional. Erratic. Crying. Habitually concerned about how she was perceived by the governor. Jilted by Bill Stepien. Going on talking jags about her failed love life with Stepien.  

This is how Christie lawyer Randy Mastro sums up Bridget Kelly in his slick (but flawed), exhaustive (but incomplete) 360-page report ‘exonerating’ the Governor. It’s an astonishing way to discuss a woman who, whatever her personal challenges, was also a Deputy Chief of Staff to arguably the most powerful governor in the country. This is not an insignificant position, and it is a level to which confused little ninnies do not rise.

Can you imagine either Mastro or Christie suggesting these things about a man? In fact, let’s be specific: they claim her doomed love affair was with Stepien. But do they attribute his decisions to a troubled personal life?  No, they do not. And Christie, who’s had an hour of press conference questions, and a TV chat with Diane Sawyer since, has done nothing to distance himself from Mastro’s characterization of Kelly. So consider it his, too.

They’re entirely comfortable doing this to this woman; comfortable enough to put it in writing, say it out loud. Read: She’s a girl.. In the worldview of this “investigation,” that’s all you have to say, because the rest of it does not have to be said. It’s understood: She’s a girl. You know how they are. Unstable. For all we know, probably on her period. Who knows why she did it? Go figure girls. As though screwing with the safety and ease of movement of hundreds of thousands of people on the busiest bridge in the world was simply the worst PMS ever. Mastro’s team didn’t even interview her and still he sums her up in strictly personal terms. Just her.

Look, I have no sympathy for Bridget Kelly. None. I don’t care that she comes to court tugging your heartstrings in pearls, weeping and looking powerless. She had power. She used it as a cudgel, risking public safety of hundreds of thousands of people for some kind of political retribution. And did so gleefully and in writing, mocking the people she inconvenienced. So, screw her. She’s earned the fight she’ll have in court.  

Roundup of media coverage of Chris Christie’s $1 million PR stunt

Much of the time, I wish the DNC and the DGA would pull back on, or at least refine, the Christie-bashing. It’s an optics issue. I get that they smell blood. And I think they believe they’re helping. But there are still people here making up their minds how they feel about the daily Christie news in New Jersey. His avoidance of the press and their hard questions vs. “town halls” where he get mostly softballs. And his “Bridgegate”  denials that his key operatives ever checked with him on anything vs. the investigations, where that hasn’t been determined yet. What I always want the D.C. Dems to recognize is that there’s still slow, linear, dogged due diligence going on in these investigations. And New Jerseyans who haven’t made up their minds yet what they believe are watching it all. In the legislature, Wisniewski & Weinberg appear to take that work very seriously. No showboating. No overreach. No partisan scoring (the GOP would disagree, but their leader’s a key player in the scandal **). I hate anything that looks like that investigation is rigged by party (including D.C. bombast) Because I don’t think it is.

So I prefer it when the national Dems keep it simple. So, I like this unvarnished roundup of media response to the news that Christie’s “internal review” – conducted by friendly, politically-connected lawyers at taxpayer expense – finds him blameless. Who thinks Christie’s “internal investigation” has credibility? Read on:

Christie’s Bridgegate investigation is baloney

The Star-Ledger // Editorial Board

“It cost New Jersey taxpayers at least a million bucks, but here’s what we finally know for a fact: Gov. Chris Christie’s lawyers think he’s innocent.”

That’s the best headline. The rest, on the jump.

NJGOP calls federal & state investigations of Christie administration “partisan witch hunts”

From a fundraising email just sent out by the New Jersey Republicans:

“The people of New Jersey deserve better than the partisan witch hunt they’re currently witnessing on television every night. Thank you for standing with Governor Christie as he begins his second term, while New Jersey builds on the progress we’ve made over the past four years.”

Right. They’re not specifically calling the investigations – now both state and federal – a partisan witch hunt. It’s just the TV coverage they say they object to in this email. A distinction without a difference, considering that some of the people they’re seeing interviewed who are involved in Christie’s scandals either as whistle-blower like Hoboken’s Dawn Zimmer (who the GOPs see as a partisan opportunist), or Joint Legislative SCI co-chairs John Wisniewski or Loretta Weinberg, who have the power to subpoena documents. They mean Democrats; Wiz & Weinberg are the probe’s co-chairs because we have a divided government, and because only a fool would trust this party to do due diligence and fact-finding on the governor who has ordered so many of their votes for three years. And all these people they see on teevee that so vex them have the power to bring down their empire, either by telling truth or uncovering the truth. Don’t forget that one of the people subpoenaed – and currently fighting it – is Bill Stepian. Who used to run the NJGOP, for a few hours before the GWB scandal was tracked to his email address (among others).

ELEC has decided the Christie campaign can raise funds for its mounting legal expenses. And the NJGOP didn’t waste much time. And they’re playing big: they’re asking for $25 a month.

But if you’ll pony up that much, they’ll send you an “American Flag New Jersey” pin. “This is the very same pin you see Governor Christie wearing during his public appearances.” NIFTY! That come with a decoder ring, too?

Full text of NJGOP’s email is below. “The lliberal media!” “Stand up to MSNBC!” and “Trenton Democrats” Their “relentless” attacks and witch hunt! And Christie? They paint him the stalwart just doing his job as all this comes down.

My favorite line? The cold open about Christie’s “historic victory” “earning the votes of more than 60% of New Jerseyans”. Uhhh, no. Not 60% of the state, but about 60% of the voters who showed up in the lowest-turnout Gov race in history.

But what’s few facts, when there’s Republicans to keep out of jail?Read it, below.


Christie lawyers up – who gets that bill?

Of course, they’re not calling it that. The Christie front office puts it like  this:

Today, the Christie Administration announced the retention of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP to assist with the internal review announced by Governor Christie last week and to further cooperate with the U.S. Attorney inquiry. As part of the review process, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP will review best practices for office operations and information flow, and assist with document retention and production.

Yeah. That horse has already left the barn. We’re a little late in the game for determining “best practices” unless the Christie administration is willing to chase the idea that massive misuse of government power and resources for apparent gotcha politics, plus months of mockery and cover-up, are not “best practices”. But first they’d have to admit that’s what the now public (but still redacted) emails suggest they were doing.

But Christie’s still playing like the earnest outraged exec surrounded by lying pranksters. Like he wants to find out what happened as much as we do (even after months of displaying no curiosity about it whatsoever). The statement says Christie will conduct an internal review to uncover the facts surrounding the lane closures in Fort Lee. “Uncover the facts?” Looks to me like the administration has been busy covering up the facts since September. And no …

Wildstein & Baroni lawyer up. And Wisniewski says No to subpoena extension for Baroni.

UPDATE: Wisniewski has extended a subpoena deadline for Wildstein and Baroni, not to the Jan. 9 date Baroni’s lawyer requested. They have until Monday to produce subpoenaed documents.

Via Wall Street Journal, David Wildstein and Bill Baroni have lawyered-up. And a three-week extension to produce subpoenaed documents, sought by Baroni’s new lawyer, was turned down today by John Wisniewski, who chairs the Assembly Transportation Committee which issued the subpoenas as part of its ongoing investigation.

The subpoena deadline is tomorrow. It covers emails and other correspondence between several officials at Port Authority, including Wildstein and Baroni, who have both “resigned” as the investigation deepens, PA ED Patrick Foye and others.

Wildstein hired Alan L. Zegas, a criminal lawyer who defended Sharpe James in federal corruption charges brought by Chris Christie when he was U.S. Attorney for New Jersey. Baroni hired Michael Himmel, an attorney who specializes in white collar crime.

Baroni and Wildstein are close associates of Gov. Chris Christie, and investigations include questions about any involvement the Christie administration may have had.

Wildstein is a friend of Gov. Christie dating back to school days. He is the person identified by WSJ to have ordered the lane closures that caused traffic chaos in Fort Lee for 5 days. Robert Durando, GWB’s general manager for 11 years, told the panel Wildstein ordered him not to tip off anyone in Fort Lee about what was happening. That only added to speculation that action may have been political payback from Christie’s high-level placements at Port Authority, to “punish” Fort Lee’s Democratic mayor for refusing to endorse Christie when he was asked to two weeks earlier.

Wildstein was hired by Bill Baroni, without any clear academic or previous work history qualifications, for an executive position with no job description created for him at a $150k salary. Wildstein A/K/A “Wally Edge” was the founder of PolitickerNJ. Bill Baroni, Christie’s top political appointee, was Deputy Executive Director at Port Authority at a salary of nearly $300k. Baroni’s testimony before Assembly Transportation, backing Wildstein and the scenario of a “traffic study” was directly contradicted several days later by Port Authority officials including Executive Director Patrick Foye, who said there was no traffic study and state and federal law was likely broken.

We learned yesterday that the investigation may broaden to include inquiries in the U.S. Senate and by the U.S. Secretary of Transportation.  

Tea Party not the Math Party

Well, I guess the Tea Party didn’t read my post “Helpful advice to the right on recall elections” over at Frank LoBiondo Record. You see, nj.com is reporting the Tea Party activists are in court:

The group, called the Committee to Recall Senator Robert Menendez, is going to court after its petition to recall the senator was denied by former Secretary of State Nina Mitchell Wells last month.

The Tea Partiers, part of a Sussex County group supporting limited government and opposed to Menendez’s stance on healthcare reform, are contesting the decision in a state appeals court.

Dan Silberstein, a lawyer for the group, said the legal battle is over which constitution – the U.S. or state – should apply to residents who want to recall their senators.

“We essentially have a New Jersey constitution that says we can do it,” said Silberstein.

Now sadly they don’t have a leg to stand on because this is apparently settled law–I say sadly because they don’t have a chance of getting a recall even if state law applied. Article I, Paragraph 2b of The New Jersey state constitution requires 25% of registered voters to sign the petitions to even get to hold a recall election. From my previous post:

According to the latest state voter registration statistics, there are 5,227,896 registered voters in New Jersey. So to recall Senator Menendez, my conservative friends will need a minimum of 1,306,974 signatures. Chris Christie only got 1,174,445 votes, so that might be a bit tough for them.

Maybe this higher traffic blog will help. I advise the Tea Party people just collect petitions and never turn them in, because the chance of success is the same without the court costs.

Christie at Work

Maybe you remember the big settlement anounced in September when Chris Christie went after the makers of artificial hips and knees?  The companies were in the wrong, but the Star Ledger has found out that Chris Christie settled the probe by funneling  $52 million to John Ashcroft’s — yes, Christie’s former boss — law firm.  Yes, the story confirms Christie picked Ashcroft.  The story also suggests that the companies did not pay actual fines — rather, it seems to me that the fines were “privatized” in classic Republican style by directing them to a friend’s law firm.