New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s (R) plan was as choreographed as it was transparent. The public-relations offensive would start with a not-so-subtle piece of taxpayer-financed propaganda – the defense brief put together by lawyers hired by the administration at the public’s defense – which would coincide with the governor sitting down for a series of media interviews.
Top it off with some surrogates on the Sunday shows and all would be well in Christie World.
The reality, of course, is far different. Let’s start with the governor’s bridge scandal, where Christie and his team have apparently decided to dare former insiders to turn against the governor.
Remember, when Team Christie feared what David Wildstein might do, it leaked a bizarre attack memo, highlighting Wildstein’s high-school antics, as well as mockery from the governor in a press conference. Soon after, Wildstein’s attorney’s made it clear that the former Port Authority official and close Christie ally was looking for an immunity deal.
Late Friday, as Ari Melber explained on the show, a similar situation unfolded. Christie’s defense last week focused on a sexist line of attack against Bridget Anne Kelly, blaming her for the entire fiasco by digging into her personal life and making her out to be emotionally unstable. The response was easy to predict.
The attorney for Bridget Anne Kelly on Friday attacked the internal report that singled her as the lone conspirator in the Christie administration in the George Washington Bridge scandal, saying it contained “venomous, gratuitous and inappropriate sexist remarks” that intended to discredit her. […]“Ms. Kelly is not a liar,” according to [attorney Michael Critchley’s] statement. If given the “appropriate” legal protections by the U.S. attorney, “she will be fully cooperative” with his investigation.
Kelly’s attorney added that evidence she can provide “could be critical to verifying either of the two competing versions of events.”
There are, in effect, two former top Christie administration officials who could make life vastly more difficult for the governor. Team Christie has infuriated both of them – and they’re now eager to receive immunity deals.
And then there’s the Hoboken scandal.
Our pals at “Up with Steve Kornacki” moved the ball forward in a big way over the weekend.
A new witness may soon be coming forward in the allegations that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s administration withheld hurricane relief money from the hard-hit city of Hoboken over a politically-connected development project.Up With Steve Kornacki has learned of a resolution on the agenda for Wednesday’s Hoboken city council meeting, in which members are slated to consider giving Mayor Dawn Zimmer the authority to waive attorney-client privilege with Joseph Maraziti, the lawyer who represents the city on development matters, so he can be free to reveal new details to investigators.Zimmer’s communications director, Juan Melli, says that Zimmer contemporaneously spoke with Maraziti about the conversation she had with Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno on May 13, in which Zimmer claims the lieutenant governor told her the development was tied to Sandy relief funds and “you need to move forward or we are not going to be able to help you.” Guadagno has firmly denied this allegation as “false” and “illogical.”Waiving the right to attorney-client privilege would allow Maraziti to respond to questions and subpoenas from New Jersey’s U.S. Attorney’s office investigating the mayor’s allegations. It would also allow him to cooperate with the state legislative investigative committee looking into the matter.
What’s more, Kornacki also talked to Belmar Mayor Matt Doherty (D), the first interview with a witness from the internal Christie administration report. Since Doherty’s take was characterized in the document as evidence against Zimmer, the interview is well worth checking out.