Christie lawyering up?

posted at 9:21 am on January 16, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

This story initially started swamping my Twitter timeline, at least until the Oscar nominations got announced and everyone debated why Tom Hanks got overlooked in Captain Phillips, which got a nomination for Best Film. (As I predicted, Twin Cities resident Barkhad Abdi got a supporting actor nomination for the film.) Before that, though, the announcement that Chris Christie brought in outside counsel to deal with the US Attorney probe into Bridgegate got the buzz:

The administration of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) has hired outside legal counsel to help it deal with a U.S. attorney inquiry into its role in crafting a politically motivated traffic jam, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.

Christie’s office is bringing in Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP. Leading the team will be former assistant U.S. attorney Randy Mastro, who co-chairs the law firm’s litigation group.

This isn’t as big of a deal as it looks. When something out of the ordinary arises on a legal front, it’s not unusual for any organization, including governments, to bring in outside counsel. In-house counsel usually have a full plate with their regular workloads, and hiring more lawyers would be more costly in the long run than contracting the effort. Besides, in a situation where the issue is inside the organization, it’s better to get outside counsel who have no ties to the rest of the organization, and who will have more experience in dealing with the opposition on the legal issues in play.

At any rate, Christie isn’t the only one hiring legal gunslingers these days. Bill Stepien, Christie’s former campaign manager who got cut loose this week from the Christie bandwagon, hired some pretty high-powered attorneys, too:

Bill Stepien, Gov. Chris Christie’s former campaign manager and senior aide who was jettisoned in the wake of a controversy concerning the George Washington Bridge, has obtained a lawyer to represent him in the ongoing investigation.

Kevin Marino, of Marino, Tortorella & Boyle in Chatham, N.J., will be representing Mr. Stepien, according to Leon Sokol, the attorney for the Assembly transportation committee that has led the investigation into lane closures ordered by Mr. Christie’s allies. …

His boutique firm has handled a number of high-profile financial cases, such as the espionage case against former Goldman Sachs Vice President Sergey Aleynikov for charges that he sold trade secrets.

Christie’s political opponents brought in outside counsel for their probe into the administration, too. They hired the man who helped take down Illinois’ Democratic Governor Rod Blagojevich:

New Jersey lawmakers investigating political tricks that emanated from Governor Chris Christie’s office hired as special counsel the lead prosecutor in the corruption trials of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich.

Reid Schar was the lead prosecutor in both trials of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, ending with Blagojevich’s conviction on sweeping corruption charges and 14-year prison sentence. In perhaps the defining moment in his career as a prosecutor, Schar opened his cross examination of Blagojevich in the second trial in 2011 with a simple but tone-setting question: “Mr. Blagojevich, you are a convicted liar, correct?” Blagojevich had been convicted of a lone count of perjury in the first trial in 2010, but jurors deadlocked on other counts.

Other notches in Schar’s belt include former Blagojevich fundraiser Tony Rezko and and Abdelhaleem Ashqar, who was accused of aiding the radical Palestinian group Hamas and ultimately convicted of obstruction of justice. Near the end of his 12-year stint at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Schar served as an adviser to Patrick Fitzgerald, giving input on charging decisions, management and personnel, and a host of other issues.

Democrats hired the man who torpedoed Democrats in Illinois? No hard feelings, I guess, but it’s going to make Blagojevich’s claims to have been the victim of a political railroading a wee bit harder to sustain, no?


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It is bad news when everyone starts lawyering up.

Johnnyreb on January 16, 2014 at 9:23 AM

The sad thing is, Killary never had to lawyer-up to face any charges from the Benghazi debacle.

Bishop on January 16, 2014 at 9:24 AM

All this over lane closures.

I sure wish people would have been this upset over 4 dead Americans.

gophergirl on January 16, 2014 at 9:25 AM

Christie lawyering up?

Or…Christie “Donuting up”

ToddPA on January 16, 2014 at 9:27 AM

Oh boy. More Christie. Imagine my excitement. Sigh…

RoadRunner on January 16, 2014 at 9:28 AM

If I were Christie I’d have zero worries. This fight is as much about internal Democrat party politics in New Jersey as anything else. There is just so much ill will about the abandonment of Buono, and the kowtowing to Christie in last falls election on the part of some Democrats, particularly on the part of Loretta Weinberg and the dedicated partisan fascist/lefties.

MTF on January 16, 2014 at 9:33 AM

Can we go back to HotGayGas? This FatGas site is tiresome. :[

Jeddite on January 16, 2014 at 9:33 AM

This story initially started swamping my Twitter timeline, at least until the Oscar nominations got announced and everyone debated why Tom Hanks got overlooked in Captain Phillips, which got a nomination for Best Film. (As I predicted, Twin Cities resident Barkhad Abdi got a supporting actor nomination for the film.)

Not to derail the thread, but Best Actor was really competitive in 2013. Hanks had 2 roles he could’ve been nominated for. Redford was getting some run for All Is Lost. So was Joaquin Phoenix for Her. And Hugh Jackman was incredible in Prisoners. It’s a shame so many actors were shut out, but the only questionable nomination in that category was Christian Bale. And unfortunately, American Hustle is getting way overrated by critics and awards groups.

Doughboy on January 16, 2014 at 9:35 AM

Meh

cmsinaz on January 16, 2014 at 9:39 AM

Show of hands, how many people really care about the fat man’s politically motived traffic jams?

This squirrel deserves a rest!

Happy Nomad on January 16, 2014 at 9:39 AM

More of the “your tax dollars at work” campaign. Say, isn’t this a shovel-ready job?

“I know what you’re thinking. Did he fire six stimuli or only five. To tell you the truth, in all this excitement I lost track myself. But you gotta ask yourself a question – do I feel stimulated? Well, do you … punk?”

platypus on January 16, 2014 at 9:40 AM

On its face this is a non-story. “Lawyerin-up” does not signal any smoking gun or culpability necessarily. Anyone with a brain in any official capacity (public or private sector) would engage outside counsel to ensure the individual’s interests are not trampled.

dpduq on January 16, 2014 at 9:40 AM

If I were Christie I’d have zero worries. This fight is as much about internal Democrat party politics in New Jersey as anything else. There is just so much ill will about the abandonment of Buono, and the kowtowing to Christie in last falls election on the part of some Democrats, particularly on the part of Loretta Weinberg and the dedicated partisan fascist/lefties.

MTF on January 16, 2014 at 9:33 AM

Oh I think he’d have a few legitimate worries even if he was really completely ignorant of those bridge closings. Wrongful termination lawsuits, false light defamation/invasion of privacy, and civil lawsuits from citizens who claim to be “victims” of the bridge closure, just to name a few. He could be innocent as an angel for all we know, and there would still be plenty of reason for him to lawyer up.

gryphon202 on January 16, 2014 at 9:40 AM

Chris who?

Midas on January 16, 2014 at 9:40 AM

On its face this is a non-story. “Lawyerin-up” does not signal any smoking gun or culpability necessarily. Anyone with a brain in any official capacity (public or private sector) would engage outside counsel to ensure the individual’s interests are not trampled.

dpduq on January 16, 2014 at 9:40 AM

All true. But think of the field day the lawyers will have with this if Christie runs in 2016.

gryphon202 on January 16, 2014 at 9:41 AM

Christie lawyering up … in preparation for his impending resignation?

Pork-Chop on January 16, 2014 at 9:41 AM

Amen HN

cmsinaz on January 16, 2014 at 9:42 AM

Christie lawyering up … in preparation for his impending resignation?

Pork-Chop on January 16, 2014 at 9:41 AM

The fat man won’t resign. This is another opportunity for him to look tough, and he never passes those up. Or donuts.

gryphon202 on January 16, 2014 at 9:43 AM

Happy Nomad on January 16, 2014 at 9:39 AM

Sick of this subject enough that I have been avoiding HA…

OmahaConservative on January 16, 2014 at 9:43 AM

Say it ain’t so Joe:

George Washington Bridge ramp closings scandal
50m
New Jersey governor’s office announces the retention of legal firm to assist with internal review over lane closures – @NBCNews
end of bulletin

canopfor on January 16, 2014 at 9:44 AM

Can we go back to HotGayGas? This FatGas site is tiresome. :[

Jeddite on January 16, 2014 at 9:33 AM

…or HotWeedVape? Something else? Anything else? (‘cept DWS, pls)

Tsar of Earth on January 16, 2014 at 9:45 AM

If a fat RINO falls at the Jersey Shore and there no Conservatives who care, does a UK socialist still drown in the resultant tidal wave?

M240H on January 16, 2014 at 9:47 AM

I’d like to see the media spend enough juice on actually meaningful issues to the point where Hillary, Obama, and a number of IRS/Justice Department folk needed to lawyer up.

But by all means, let’s talk more about the Kardashians/Honey BooBoo of the GOP. Pay no attention to that burning Constitution over *there*, or the disintegrating economy over *there*, or to the…

Midas on January 16, 2014 at 9:47 AM

All this over lane closures.

I sure wish people would have been this upset over 4 dead Americans.

gophergirl on January 16, 2014 at 9:25 AM

…^ THIS ^…

KOOLAID2 on January 16, 2014 at 9:48 AM

The sad thing is, Killary never had to lawyer-up to face any charges from the Benghazi debacle.

Bishop on January 16, 2014 at 9:24 AM

Or Rose Law Firm billing records
Or Fort Marcy Park
Or Cattle Futures
Or “I can’t recall”…
etc…etc…

Difficultas_Est_Imperium on January 16, 2014 at 9:49 AM

http://www.gastricbypassnosurgery.com

Electrongod on January 16, 2014 at 9:49 AM

Heads Up,…please don’t comment,..crack a tab open
and enjoy ISSA’s Savagery:

14m
Live video: House committee holds Healthcare.gov security hearing – @NBCNews
see original on nbcnews.com

http://www.breakingnews.com/topic/obama-health-care-law/

canopfor on January 16, 2014 at 9:50 AM

Issa=Kabuki

Midas on January 16, 2014 at 9:54 AM

Atheist update in 3…2…1…

Eph on January 16, 2014 at 9:56 AM

Gay marriage retaliation thread in 3…2…1…

Eph on January 16, 2014 at 9:57 AM

This story initially started swamping my Twitter timeline, at least until the Oscar nominations got announced and everyone debated why Tom Hanks got overlooked in Captain Phillips,
==============================

I watched it, two days ago, and its well done!

Lessons, bring weapons and a couple of LAW’s onboard!!

canopfor on January 16, 2014 at 9:57 AM

Exit question in 3…2..1…

Eph on January 16, 2014 at 9:58 AM

All this over lane closures.

I sure wish people would have been this upset over 4 dead Americans.

gophergirl on January 16, 2014 at 9:25 AM

Very true. Or, a dead BP agent and several hundred dead Mexicans.

The strange thing is that Christie had reelection in the bag, just as Richard Nixon had reelection in the bag, running against McGovern in 1972. Yet Watergate happened. The similarities are so great that even AP’s buddy David Frum was able to see them.

bw222 on January 16, 2014 at 10:01 AM

Issa=Kabuki

Midas on January 16, 2014 at 9:54 AM

Midas:)
==========

Reuters Top News ‏@Reuters 9h

Exclusive: U.S. government failed to secure Obamacare site: experts http://reut.rs/Lh1uTY
Expand
=======

http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/01/16/us-usa-healthcare-security-idUSBREA0F07X20140116?feedType=RSS&feedName=topNews&utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter&dlvrit=992637

canopfor on January 16, 2014 at 10:04 AM

All things aside….meaning I do not care
much for Christie…..

..when the hell are some of his people going to start firing
back at the media??

This cicle jerk of a media frenzy makes one want to vomit.
He should start sending out his minions to bash the hell
out of the media for not reporting on Benghazi, IRS, NSA…

…fast and Furious..don’t give an inch. Tell them, you’ve told
them everything, and now it’s time for them to apply the
same Scrutiny to this President..keep repeating that
over and over until they are forced to address it…..

Our media will never look into Democrat malfeasance without
being forced to.

ToddPA on January 16, 2014 at 10:09 AM

The way things are done by the government in New Jersey is very different than the way things are done in “flyover states.” It didn’t start with Chris Christie; it started decades ago. But, I am willing to bet that because of Bridgegate, there are going to be examples of favoritism and corruption exposed that will destroy any national ambitions Christie may have had.

It’s the Joisey way.

bw222 on January 16, 2014 at 10:09 AM

If a NE Vichy Republican has a local political issue that’s actally just a “Squirrel!” moment, do Conservatives in America’s Heartland give a hoot ‘n holler?

kingsjester on January 16, 2014 at 10:19 AM

As usual, nobody wins here but the lawyers.

Dems hired Schar just to get the headline that they hired the guy who “brought down another Governor on corruption charges.” No mention that there are several orders of magnitude difference between a couple of access ramp lanes being closed for 4 days by an independent agecy only loosely tied to the Governor, and a sitting Governor trying to sell a U.S. Senate seat to the highest bidder. And no mention of how much taxpayers’ money is going to be spent paying him to do….what, exactly?

One of the perception problems Christie has to deal with is the fact that the state Attorney General in New Jersey is appointed by the Governor. Right now that office is vacant (a career lawyer is Acting AG but he has been appointed to a state judgeship pending confirmation), and there are no other political appointees in the AG’s office, but the office does not have the perception of independence from the Governor’s office that elected state AG’s offices have. So it makes sense for Christie to hire outside counsel here.

rockmom on January 16, 2014 at 10:19 AM

The strange thing is that Christie had reelection in the bag, just as Richard Nixon had reelection in the bag, running against McGovern in 1972. Yet Watergate happened. The similarities are so great that even AP’s buddy David Frum was able to see them.

bw222 on January 16, 2014 at 10:01 AM

This was not about Christie’s reelection. I am alomst 100% sure of that.

rockmom on January 16, 2014 at 10:21 AM

He would be crazy not to get a lawyer.

Cindy Munford on January 16, 2014 at 10:27 AM

Democrats hired the man who torpedoed Democrats in Illinois? No hard feelings, I guess, but it’s going to make Blagojevich’s claims to have been the victim of a political railroading a wee bit harder to sustain, no?

Lawyers and politicians are egotistical whores and ambulance chasers. If the money’s right they’ll sell out anybody and do anything no matter how dirty or underhanded it is.

Vince on January 16, 2014 at 10:29 AM

Can we go 24 hours without a Christie story, please?

Come to the Chicago area, we deal with lane closures every day. Not only that, one year construction projects take three years because of the government mandate of hiring union workers.

IT’S A D*MN LANE CLOSURE!

Why wouldn’t anyone hire a lawyer? Good grief! He has other things to do!

herm2416 on January 16, 2014 at 10:32 AM

This isn’t as big of a deal as it looks.

Who wouldn’t hire a lawyer if they were under “investigation” by the Regime?

Besides Lois Lerner. She definitely didn’t need one. And all the Democrats involved in other scandals. They have nothing to worry about either.

forest on January 16, 2014 at 10:35 AM

All this over lane closures.

I sure wish people would have been this upset over 4 dead Americans.

gophergirl on January 16, 2014 at 9:25 AM

Any conservative that wins the White House should have himself/herself and their press secretary troll the MSM every single day with, “I’ll answer those questions on [manufactured scandal du jour] when you start asking Obama about the four dead Americans in Bengazi.”

Hell, even under candidate status, that mentality should be adopted by the GOPe. Because you know the RINOs won’t… they just want to “look good” in the eyes of the MSM. And nice guys ALWAYS finish last.

Myron Falwell on January 16, 2014 at 10:44 AM

This should be a lesson to conservatives that liberals will not necessarily obey the law, but they will use it to their advantage. He needed to “lawyer up” the second this broke.

Tater Salad on January 16, 2014 at 10:51 AM

I suspect KristieKreme is blubbering more about having been mocked and sold out by Springsteen on the talk shows than by his staff’s ham-handed actions on the GWB.

ya2daup on January 16, 2014 at 11:15 AM

Everyone who had to sit in hours-long traffic, due to obama’s campaigning should also lawyer up…not that this excuses Christie and his thugs.

Schadenfreude on January 16, 2014 at 11:21 AM

“Democrats hired the man who torpedoed Democrats in Illinois?”

Allahpundit, Blago went rogue and was trying to squeeze Dem establishment for money/favors. They are the ones who sold out Blago. If Blago had played ball with Madigan and raised taxes he might still be governor.

Bill C on January 16, 2014 at 11:35 AM

It is bad news when everyone starts lawyering up.

Johnnyreb on January 16, 2014 at 9:23 AM

They say the end of time will be ushered in when all the lawyers in the world begin dueling each other and the last survivor commits suicide to insure justice has finally been done.

Don L on January 16, 2014 at 12:13 PM

What’s the difference between a Christie staffer conspiring with Christie appointees in the PA to hammer Ft. Lee traffic as ‘retribution’ – and an Obama WH and the WH’s OMB ordering Executive Branch departments to make the effects of the government shutdown and sequester as painful as possible to taxpayers?

Athos on January 16, 2014 at 12:31 PM

Well, if Christie does get convicted, I am sure his buddy in the Whitehouse will pardon him.
\

virgo on January 16, 2014 at 9:23 PM