By John Celock
The law firm that conducted an internal review of the Bridgegate scandal for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) released a series of memos outlining details of their interviews on Monday.
The memos, released by the New York law firm of Gibson Dunn, detail the interviews attorneys conducted for the million dollar taxpayer fund probe Christie ordered regarding the closure of lanes on the George Washington Bridge last year and allegations that Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno (R) told the mayor of Hoboken that she would need to approve a particular development project in order to receive Hurricane Sandy relief money. The probe was headed by former New York City Deputy Mayor Randy Mastro.
The interviews provided a narrative similar to what was in the report released by Mastro and the statements made by Christie and his inner circle over the past few months. Among these were shifting the blame for the bridge lane closures to Bridget Kelly, a former deputy of staff to Christie who had written a 2013 email that helped launch the final closure. In addition, the report also singled out David Wildstein, a former Port Authority executive, for his role in the lane closures. Aides to Christie also took pains to reiterate comments Christie has made that he was not close to Wildstein when they attended high school together.
Christie and Guadagno both denied that Christie had told the lieutenant governor to tell Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer (D) that she needed to approve a development project from the Rockefeller Group in order to receive Sandy recovery funds. Christie indicated that at the meeting at the governor’s mansion where it is alleged that Christie told this to Guadagno, the pair’s only interactions were to sing a song following a staff dinner and to share small talk while the governor ate raspberries in the mansion kitchen. The interactions occurred during a regular senior staff retreat.
Guadagno told Mastro’s aides that while she routinely attended Sandy related meetings, she did not make regular statements on the policy and that her chief of staff attended more of the meetings than she did.
In addition, Guadagno said that she routinely saw Zimmer at events and that Zimmer was very interested in discussing Hoboken related topics with her. She also noted that Zimmer was hesitant to discuss development projects due to her predecessor, Democrat Peter Cammarano III, being arrested after taking bribes from an FBI informant posing as a developer.
The complete memos can be found here.