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View Diary: Former Christie aide takes the Fifth before New Jersey Assembly (219 comments)

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  •  No; I don't think they have the power to do that (1+ / 0-)
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    daeros

    From context, it seemed to me that the committee's purpose was oversight of the Port Authority, and that the purpose of the hearing was to hear evidence related to problems within the Port Authority so that the legislature could act to address those problems.  The chair specifically said that they are not a law enforcement agency.

    That testimony given to the committee can not be used in a court of law should, theoretically, allow witnesses to fully answer questions with fear of being charged with a crime.  However, failure to answer the committee's questions is itself a misdemeanor; and so they voted, unanimously, to charge him with contempt.

    That's my understanding from the context of what I heard.  Again, not a lawyer.

    ______________
    Love one another

    by davehouck on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 12:06:10 PM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  There must be some statutory (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      davehouck, daeros

      authority that excludes the testimony from subsequent criminal proceedings - in state court. But it wouldn't bind the  feds ....

      Sorry - you said you're not a lawyer. I'll search around for some discussion by lawyers.

      Thanks.

      Out with the gloomage - in with the plumage!

      by mikidee on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 12:14:23 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  You're welcome. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mikidee, daeros

        ______________
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        by davehouck on Thu Jan 09, 2014 at 12:21:42 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I've posted a number of comments here on this (0+ / 0-)

        I am not a criminal lawyer, so if others have a more informed take on it, I'd be glad to be corrected.

        But yes, there are two issues: Immunity from criminal prosecution can only be granted by a prosecutor, not a legislative committee. And because the Feds are potentially in on this one, he would need protection from both state and Federal prosecution.

        Eventually, all that will be negotiated out. In the meantime, the advice to keep his mouth shut and refuse to answer questions was the only reasonable legal advice. The contempt citation keeps the issue alive, but I very much doubt they're going to haul him away tonight in handcuffs and an orange jumpsuit.

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