The FBI is now investigating the Bridgegate scandal as is the US attorney for New Jersey and the for New York. It is pretty clear that laws have been broken. Even Pat Foye the Director of the Port Authority was shitting bricks about the possible Federal and states laws that were probably violated.
I know there was another diary that spoke about the possible laws that were violated, by Louise called Some of Christie's potential felonies, but I would like to add some extra thoughts. Below the fold I will do a general list of what might become criminal charges, and then the BIG kahuna
I would like to apologize for not properly "briefing" this, and I will take my lumps from the attorneys who work in the field of public corruption if need be, but here it goes.
First a short list of what lower level charges might have been violated:
Interfering with interstate commerce. Yes, just fucking with interstate commerce is a federal crime, much like fucking with the US mail is. crippling a major artery of interstate commerce, i.e. the GWB, would qualify.
Civil Rights violations of interfering with a person's right to travel across state lines. This one goes all the way back to the post-Civil War when Southerners attempted to stop ex-slaves from moving North. It was used by the FBI in the 1960s to essentially wipe out the KKK for a decade. But it must be remembered that it doesn't have to be directed at a person for racially inappropriate reasons. impede a person from crossing a state line and you have done the big no.
Use of a governmental office to violate a person's civil rights, also known as under color of law.
Use of governmental resources for personal or political gain. Using the GWB as a way for political payback is a no no. So is using that computer, office, phone, chair, etc. to further someone's political campaign, you know something like intimidating other office holders to support your campaign for re-election.
The last one would also include misappropriation of public funds, i.e. if they actually used money for the Springfield traffic survey to pay for this little "test".
Then we have conspiracy issues. We have conspiracy to commit the act, and we have conspiracy to cover up the act. Conspiracy charges are important because unlike "attempt" charges which normally get incorporated into an actual criminal act, conspiracy does not. You can be charged with just planning to commit an illegal act.
Now we get to the title of this diary. The feds, and most states, have what is know as RICO statutes. RICO stands for Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. Per Wikipedia
Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, commonly referred to as the RICO Act or simply RICO, is a United States federal law that provides for extended criminal penalties and a civil cause of action for acts performed as part of an ongoing criminal organization. The RICO Act focuses specifically on racketeering, and it allows the leaders of a syndicate to be tried for the crimes which they ordered others to do or assisted them, closing a perceived loophole that allowed someone who told a man to, for example, murder, to be exempt from the trial because he did not actually commit the crime personally.RICO is serious shit. And if this diary Bridgegate Motive: Mystery Solved is onto something, then the dogs are on the hunt and Christie and Co. are the fox.
RICO was enacted by section 901(a) of the Organized Crime Control Act of 1970 (Pub.L. 91–452, 84 Stat. 922, enacted October 15, 1970). RICO is codified as Chapter 96 of Title 18 of the United States Code, 18 U.S.C. § 1961–1968. Under the close supervision of Senator John Little McClellan, the Chairman of the Committee for which he worked, G. Robert Blakey drafted the "RICO Act," Title IX of the Organized Crime Control Act of 1970, signed into law by Richard M. Nixon.While its original use in the 1970s was to prosecute the Mafia as well as others who were actively engaged in organized crime, its later application has been more widespread.
As I said, RICO is serious shit. The time that can be served is crazy. Each act that you take in the chain of RICO offenses can get you 20 years, and big ass fines. There are civil and criminal aspects to it. The feds can wipe you out without ever sending you to jail. If you go to jail, they spread a nice layer of cement over you and you don't see light for a long time.
In addition, even the mere threat of bringing Mr. RICO into the game will make a potential defendant soil themselves and plea to a lesser charge. Part of the agreement to the lesser charge is that the little fish roll over on the big fish. I am more than confident that if they aren't already, Wildstien et al, will be in negotiations with prosecutors for a plea or immunity. Wildsien's lawyer was telegraphing it the other day in the hearing.
To put a fine note on it. There is a shit storm heading towards New Jersey that will make Hurricane Sandy look like a warm summer shower.
I hope Mr. Christie and his friends get to know Mr. RICO for a long, long time.
10:23 AM PT: There is a comment that asks if I think that someone involved in this case should face the big time that RICO can hand someone. The short answer is yes, IF, it can be shown that the wheels of government were used to the benefit of someone, either personally or a political contributor. Just calling this "petty" or "routine" cannot be allowed. Putting it in those terms just allows it to go on! If crimes can be shown to have happened, then put the hammer on them.
UPDATED: Don't just take it from me. Per Wisniewski all but calls Christie a liar on Face the Nation by Christian in NC
Wisniewski thinks that even if Christie wasn't in on the scheme or the cover-up, a crime was definitely committed. "When you use the George Washington Bridge for what the emails show to be a political payback," he said, "that amounts to using public property for a private purpose or a political purpose, and that's not legal." While the investigation is very much in the early stages, if it is indeed proven that Christie was involved, Wisniewski indicated that it would definitely be an impeachable offense.Thank you Christian in NC, nice catch.
UPDATE: Some questions about what can lead to a RICO charge. Basically two or more predicated acts listed below. See if you can spot a couple.
As used in this chapter—
(1) “racketeering activity” means (A) any act or threat involving murder, kidnapping, gambling, arson, robbery, bribery, extortion, dealing in obscene matter, or dealing in a controlled substance or listed chemical (as defined in section 102 of the Controlled Substances Act), which is chargeable under State law and punishable by imprisonment for more than one year; (B) any act which is indictable under any of the following provisions of title 18, United States Code: Section 201 (relating to bribery), section 224 (relating to sports bribery), sections 471, 472, and 473 (relating to counterfeiting), section 659 (relating to theft from interstate shipment) if the act indictable under section 659 is felonious, section 664 (relating to embezzlement from pension and welfare funds), sections 891–894 (relating to extortionate credit transactions), section 1028 (relating to fraud and related activity in connection with identification documents), section 1029 (relating to fraud and related activity in connection with access devices), section 1084 (relating to the transmission of gambling information), section 1341 (relating to mail fraud), section 1343 (relating to wire fraud), section 1344 (relating to financial institution fraud), section 1351 (relating to fraud in foreign labor contracting), section 1425 (relating to the procurement of citizenship or nationalization unlawfully), section 1426 (relating to the reproduction of naturalization or citizenship papers), section 1427 (relating to the sale of naturalization or citizenship papers), sections 1461–1465 (relating to obscene matter), section 1503 (relating to obstruction of justice), section 1510 (relating to obstruction of criminal investigations), section 1511 (relating to the obstruction of State or local law enforcement), section 1512 (relating to tampering with a witness, victim, or an informant), section 1513 (relating to retaliating against a witness, victim, or an informant), section 1542 (relating to false statement in application and use of passport), section 1543 (relating to forgery or false use of passport), section 1544 (relating to misuse of passport), section 1546 (relating to fraud and misuse of visas, permits, and other documents), sections 1581–1592 (relating to peonage, slavery, and trafficking in persons).,  section 1951 (relating to interference with commerce, robbery, or extortion), section 1952 (relating to racketeering), section 1953 (relating to interstate transportation of wagering paraphernalia), section 1954 (relating to unlawful welfare fund payments), section 1955 (relating to the prohibition of illegal gambling businesses), section 1956 (relating to the laundering of monetary instruments), section 1957 (relating to engaging in monetary transactions in property derived from specified unlawful activity), section 1958 (relating to use of interstate commerce facilities in the commission of murder-for-hire), section 1960 (relating to illegal money transmitters), sections 2251, 2251A, 2252, and 2260 (relating to sexual exploitation of children), sections 2312 and 2313 (relating to interstate transportation of stolen motor vehicles), sections 2314 and 2315 (relating to interstate transportation of stolen property), section 2318 (relating to trafficking in counterfeit labels for phonorecords, computer programs or computer program documentation or packaging and copies of motion pictures or other audiovisual works), section 2319 (relating to criminal infringement of a copyright), section 2319A (relating to unauthorized fixation of and trafficking in sound recordings and music videos of live musical performances), section 2320 (relating to trafficking in goods or services bearing counterfeit marks), section 2321 (relating to trafficking in certain motor vehicles or motor vehicle parts), sections 2341–2346 (relating to trafficking in contraband cigarettes), sections 2421–24 (relating to white slave traffic), sections 175–178 (relating to biological weapons), sections 229–229F (relating to chemical weapons), section 831 (relating to nuclear materials), (C) any act which is indictable under title 29, United States Code, section 186 (dealing with restrictions on payments and loans to labor organizations) or section 501 (c) (relating to embezzlement from union funds), (D) any offense involving fraud connected with a case under title 11 (except a case under section 157 of this title), fraud in the sale of securities, or the felonious manufacture, importation, receiving, concealment, buying, selling, or otherwise dealing in a controlled substance or listed chemical (as defined in section 102 of the Controlled Substances Act), punishable under any law of the United States, (E) any act which is indictable under the Currency and Foreign Transactions Reporting Act, (F) any act which is indictable under the Immigration and Nationality Act, section 274 (relating to bringing in and harboring certain aliens), section 277 (relating to aiding or assisting certain aliens to enter the United States), or section 278 (relating to importation of alien for immoral purpose) if the act indictable under such section of such Act was committed for the purpose of financial gain, or (G) any act that is indictable under any provision listed in section 2332b (g)(5)(B);