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Please begin with an informative title:

Though I believe bridgegate (and all the other associated gates) should and will likely result in Christie's resignation from office, I have been somewhat dismayed by the analysis of the letter from Wildstein's lawyer, Alan L Zegas.  

Perhaps I approach these letters differently because I am a criminal defense lawyer.  In any event, allow me to place the letter in full context.  

Below the squiggly, I engage in an exercise of extreme parsing (as we lawyers are apt to do).


You must enter an Intro for your Diary Entry between 300 and 1150 characters long (that's approximately 50-175 words without any html or formatting markup).

First observation:  the references to evidence against Christie were entirely gratuitous to the stated purpose of the letter, i.e., asking the Port Authority to pay Wildstein's legal bills.

In the letter, Zegas notes that the Port Authority had rejected Wildstein's requests that his legal bills be paid ostensibly because it had found that "it was apparent" that such reimbursement would not be authorized by the bylaws.  Zegas proceeds to dispute there was any basis for that finding.

Whether Christie personally was involved in the lane closures - or knew about them at any particular time -- is wholly irrelevant to the determination whether the Port Authority bylaws require the payment of Wildstein's legal bills.

Second observation: since Christie's knowledge is irrelevant to the payment of Wildstein's bills, Zegas plainly mentioned that issue for ulterior purposes.

This part of the story I think has been adequately reported.  Simply put, Zegas (quite understandably) is trying to get immunity for his client by insinuating that he has significant evidence.

Third observation: despite tantalizing language, the letter falls well short of promising that Wildstein has personal knowledge or unreported evidence that Christie knew of the lane closures at any particular time.

Let's look at the key language once more:

In the first portion of the initial sentence in the much-quoted paragraph, Zegas begins by saying "it has come to light that [an administration employee] communicated an order" [to close the lanes]."  The second clause in that sentence states, "and evidence exists as well tying Mr. Christie to having knowledge of the lane closures during the period when the lanes were closed," contrary to Christie's claims in his press conference.

That first clause of the sentence plainly refers to already-disclosed information.  The second clause of the sentence, importantly, not only does not describe the evidence of Christie's knowledge, it does not even state that Wildstein possesses the evidence.  Simply put, it is entirely reasonable to interpret that key sentence as stating merely that the evidence of Christie's knowledge is already in the public domain.

Of course, the language is also vague enough to support the interpretation assumed by the media to be true: i.e., that Wildstein has evidence not publicly disclosed yet.  But before adopting that interpretation, one should ask, if Wildstein possesses evidence not yet disclosed, why did the letter not say that unequivocally?

Zegas could simply have said, "we possess" or "Mr. Wildstein possesses" evidence that Christie knew of the lane closures when they were happening.  But the only remark like that is the closing sentence in the paragraph, "Mr. WIldstein contests the accuracy of various statements that the Governor made about him and he can prove the inaccuracy of some."  And that leads to..

My final observation: the only evidence of Christie's lies that Zegas claims to possess concerns statements Christie made about Wildstein.

Again none of this rules out the possibility that Wildstein can prove Christie lied about his knowledge of the lane closures.  Indeed, I personally believe that Wildstein quite likely does have such evidence.  My only point is that the media has jumped to a conclusion not supported by the letter.

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