Reporters Ask Christie: How Objective Was Bridgegate Probe?



New Jersey Governor Chris Christie spoke at a press conference Friday for the first time in quite a while to address the findings of  an investigation into the Bridgegate scandal. The investigation took place following the George Washington Bridge traffic jams, and has been criticized by some as biased; the report was requested by the Governor and done by a legal team that he hired and had a relationship with in the past. Others take the findings of the report at face value; it places the blame and knowledge of the events on Bridget Kelly, Christie’s deputy chief of staff, and David Wildstein of the Port Authority. The investigation found no evidence that Christie was party to the scandal, and stated that he was uninvolved.

Christie fielded questions on the investigation, the course of events leading up to and following the scandal, and on his career going forward. When it came to the objectivity and legitimacy of the report, Christie said that, “No matter who I chose to do this, questions would be raised by some quarters as to those people’s objectivity.” He went on to emphasize the “unfettered complete access” he’d given the investigative team from Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, allowing for interviews with whomever desired, however often, as well as access to both work and personal devices and emails.

He also emphasized the reputation of the law firm, chosen for that exact reason.”These are six former federal prosecutors — who I can guarantee you have worked hard to develop the reputations that they’ve earned over the course of their career, and would not give away those reputations … for me,” said Christie. He said that after seven years as a U.S. attorney to New Jersey and five years as governor he would have a difficult time finding a major law firm that he had not had some sort of relationship or personal connection to.

One major concern has been that certain individuals, including the two big names in the report, Bridget Kelly and David Wildstein, were not interviewed, by their choice or inability for the investigative team to speak with certain individuals. Christie said that he has no choice but to respect their constitutional right, and the feelings from some that prefer not to be interviewed.

Ultimately, said Christie, “I think the report will stand the test of time, but it will be tested by the other investigations that are ongoing. And it is limited … in small part by some of the access that they had and didn’t have to certain people.” As to how much the major law firm that conducted the investigation would cost the state of New Jersey and its tax payers, Christie said he’s unsure as to the cost at present, and that he didn’t know the specifics of how the payment would be looked at and dealt with later. “I don’t know where they got the [projected cost of] one million dollars from … but again, if we want to have a search for truth, and we have an incident that people are concerned about and you have investigations [that] are asking for the production of enormous amounts of documents and testimony, you need to get lawyers to help you sheppard that process –  to do it appropriately — and so that means they get paid for doing that task,” said Christie.

As to his future in politics — Christie is named as a potential presidential candidate in 2016 — he said that, “As I’ve said dozens of times, if I do my job the best way I can, my future will take care of itself.”

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