Governor of New Jersey Chris Christie speaks at the Freedom Summit in Des Moines, Iowa, January 24, 2015.
Jim Young/Reuters

That new federal criminal investigation into Gov. Christie? No one knows if that is really happening

Updated

Over the last few days, news outlets have reported that the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New Jersey has launched yet another federal criminal investigation into Governor Chris Christie and his administration.

The Rachel Maddow Show, 2/6/15, 10:55 PM ET

Federal criminal probe of Chris Christie not definite

Rachel Maddow clarifies reports about that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is under federal criminal investigation, explaining that while federal investigators have made inquiries, there does not appear to be an official investigation.
Today, TRMS reached out to both the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the person at the center of this story, a former New Jersey county prosecutor named Ben Barlyn.

Turns out the story is more nuanced than the headlines might have you believe. Yes, a person has been questioned in connection with this allegation about the Christie administration. Does that mean there is a new federal criminal investigation? Not necessarily.

Here’s what the U.S. Attorney’s office in New Jersey told us today:

“Any characterization that we are investigating the Governor about this is just not true … . [W]e talk to people all the time. It doesn’t mean we’re investigating anybody.”

Ben Barlyn, the man at the center of the case, told us today:

“I’ve never characterized this as a full-blown investigation.”

There’s lots more on this story coming up on tonight’s show!

In the meantime, if you want a primer on Ben Barlyn’s case against the Christie Administration, check out this previous coverage, here and here, including an excellent costume change that involves the dreaded cat police.

The Rachel Maddow Show, 1/30/14, 10:20 PM ET

An even more mind-bending New Jersey story

Rachel Maddow tells the strange, scandalous story of the dissolution of an investigation into apparent corruption in a New Jersey sheriff’s office.

Chris Christie and New Jersey

That new federal criminal investigation into Gov. Christie? No one knows if that is really happening

Updated