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Hoboken to consider waiving attorney-client privilege for city lawyer in inquiries

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie speaks during a news conference in Trenton, New Jersey, March 28, 2014.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie speaks during a news conference in Trenton, New Jersey, March 28, 2014.

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.

The resolution could be found yesterday evening on the city of Hoboken’s website.

In a statement, Zimmer’s spokesman said, "The City wants to ensure that Joe Maraziti, special redevelopment counsel for Hoboken, is able to fully cooperate with the U.S. Attorney's investigation so that he can respond to the document subpoena he recently received and so that he can answer all questions when he is interviewed."

In January, Zimmer alleged that in May 2013, two senior members of Governor Christie’s administration warned that her town would be starved of hurricane relief money unless she approved a lucrative redevelopment plan in the city’s North end favored by the governor.

Among the documents Zimmer provided to msnbc was an email from Maraziti telling the mayor and other city officials that he was “getting the full court press" from David Samson's law firm, Wolff & Samson, on behalf of the developer, including emails with David Samson copied on them. At the time, Samson was the Christie-appointed Chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Christie announced Samson’s resignation at his news conference Friday, and the developer earlier cut ties with Samson’s law firm.