Despite his recent press conference and seeming return to politics as usual, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has just gotten (another) bit of bad news: his former high school chum (who he distanced himself from one Bridgegate broke) who is the former Port Authority of New York and New Jersey executive who orchestrated the George Washington Bridge lane closures is now cooperating with the feds.
This story has “legs” — and the legs are likely to trip up any Christie 2006 Presidential run.
The former Port Authority of New York and New Jersey executive who orchestrated the George Washington Bridge lane closures is cooperating with federal prosecutors investigating the scandal, Esquire reported on Monday.
According to Esquire’s Scott Raab, sources close to the investigation say that David Wildstein has been cooperating with Paul Fishman, the U.S. attorney in New Jersey. Raab also reported that Fishman has increased the number of investigators working the case, and has been presenting evidence and witnesses to a grand jury. (On Friday, ABC News reported that Michael Drewniak, press secretary to Gov. Chris Christie (R), testified before the grand jury.)
Esquire isn’t the only outlet to get word of Wildstein’s interactions with prosecutors. On Sunday night, the website Main Justice reported that Wildstein “was camped at the U.S. Attorney’s office” in Newark last week meeting with prosecutors. In January, Wildstein’s attorney, Alan Zegas, said that his client would talk if given “immunity from the relevant entities.”
Main Justice also reported that Charlie McKenna, former chief counsel to Christie, met with federal investigators in mid-January. Christie announced on Dec. 19 that McKenna was leaving the chief counsel position to become CEO of the New Jersey Schools Development Authority (SDA), a position he was officially elected to by the SDA board of directors on Jan. 2. McKenna could not immediately be reached for comment by TPM on Monday.
This story isn’t going to fade away. It sounds like its about to blossom — blossom political skunk cabbage for Christie.
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.