New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s office announced Thursday morning that the administration has hired outside legal counsel to help navigate an investigation into its role in lane closures on the George Washington Bridge last September.
The Christie administration hired Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, a large law firm, to help with an internal review and with the U.S. Attorney of New Jersey’s inquiry into the matter. Last week, new documents revealed that one of Christie’s top aides was involved in the decision to close two of three access lanes from Fort Lee, N.J., onto the George Washington Bridge.
Randy Mastro, a former federal prosecutor and a former assistant U.S. attorney, is leading the Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher team. Mastro also served as chief of staff and deputy mayor for operations under former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, a close ally of Christie.
Here’s the full statement from the Christie administration on the firm’s retention:
“Governor Christie made clear last week that he will conduct an internal review to uncover the facts surrounding the lane closures in Fort Lee. His Administration is fully cooperating with the U.S. Attorney inquiry and other appropriate inquiries and requests for information. To assist in conducting that internal review and furthering that cooperation, the Christie Administration is announcing today that Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP has been retained as outside counsel. Their presence will bring an outside, third-party perspective to the situation, and they will be a valuable asset as we move forward. This Administration is committed to ensuring that what happened here never happens again. That’s what the people of New Jersey deserve.”
Christie has disavowed any knowledge of the decision to close the lanes, which Christie’s political opponents have said was political revenge, motivated by Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich’s (D) refusal to endorse Christie for re-election last year. Last week, Christie traveled to Fort Lee to meet with and apologise to Sokolich.
Along with the internal review and U.S. attorney inquiry, Christie is also facing an investigation from a New Jersey Assembly special committee. The committee, which is investigating solely the motive of the lane closures, is expected to issue a new round of subpoenas this week.
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