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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 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.[1]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.

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.

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)., [1] 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);

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (206+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ricklewsive, chicago minx, DavidMS, skepticalcitizen, CwV, commonmass, Templar, penguins4peace, crystal eyes, Little Lulu, NJpeach, Delta Overdue, a2nite, DRo, reflectionsv37, Dumbo, sharman, Sandino, IndieGuy, mookins, lexalou, Capt Crunch, Gowrie Gal, stone clearing, Crabby Abbey, Sylv, HoundDog, Jollie Ollie Orange, GAS, SeaTurtle, marleycat, HappyinNM, Empower Ink, eyeswideopen, hungrycoyote, earicicle, arizonablue, MartyM, hotdamn, leonard145b, jguzman17, miracle11, Caddis Fly, eeff, TheGreatLeapForward, smoothnmellow, gnothis, Bill Roberts, lcrp, rk2, kartski, GeorgeXVIII, profundo, Tunk, AnnetteK, Kristina40, royce, jedennis, HiKa, exNYinTX, peacestpete, bookwoman, Rosaura, wigwam, john07801, psnyder, eru, kevinpdx, Joieau, Chaddiwicker, anodnhajo, camlbacker, roses, SteelerGrrl, VTCC73, Pluto, sgoldinger, lcs, Puddytat, kathny, Jeff Y, thomask, bibble, joeschmeaux, Sunspots, Wee Mama, Ditch Mitch KY, cybersaur, BachFan, GDbot, Dirtandiron, Gustogirl, Clive all hat no horse Rodeo, Rogneid, wasatch, lineatus, 1BQ, ItsSimpleSimon, nailbender, FindingMyVoice, shortgirl, myboo, sillia, JVolvo, Sapere aude, Randian, dksbook, ARS, where4art, schumann, emeraldmaiden, rapala, Damnit Janet, EagleOfFreedom, muddy boots, tb92, fcvaguy, sawgrass727, BadKitties, Matt Z, greycat, luvmyprez, AdamR510, oceanview, Louise, rlb, markdd, Texknight, tegrat, sfcouple, skybluewater, mconvente, Susan from 29, ichibon, Pam from Calif, seefleur, petral, leeleedee, geekydee, Lattyplayer, janatallow, rb608, flycaster, Doctor Who, rubyclaire, Horace Boothroyd III, edsbrooklyn, HedwigKos, Darth Stateworker, Black Max, badscience, 2questions, yoduuuh do or do not, janmtairy, Buckeye Nut Schell, Cinnamon, spooks51, tommyfocus2003, ArthurPoet, PeteZerria, dmhlt 66, Vicky, kurious, kerflooey, mwm341, Josiah Bartlett, Emerson, dotsright, Aaa T Tudeattack, daveygodigaditch, bobatkinson, Judgment at Nuremberg, Prognosticator, DianeNYS, rexxnyc, Sharoney, Involuntary Exile, cspivey, samoashark, deepeco, WakeUpNeo, Skennet Boch, ColoTim, mamamedusa, Australian2, kaliope, Skyye, Youffraita, Tinfoil Hat, doinaheckuvanutjob, TheMeansAreTheEnd, radarlady, OleHippieChick, kharma, riverlover, rat racer, glescagal, HCKAD, mkor7, MaikeH, Lilyvt, nmjardine, Sun Tzu, Carol in San Antonio, StrayCat, semiot

    When you say it is "common sense" what you are really saying is "I don't have any evidence to back up my argument", because it is quite often neither common nor sense.

    by kaminpdx on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 08:34:04 AM PST

    •  Thank you, I will update the diary to add this. (30+ / 0-)

      When you say it is "common sense" what you are really saying is "I don't have any evidence to back up my argument", because it is quite often neither common nor sense.

      by kaminpdx on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 08:52:46 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thank you for your add to a great diary. (23+ / 0-)

        The idea that Christie might be guilty of racketeering under RICO statutes is absolutely delicious. It is also well-warranted. Christie is the government equivalent of a Mafia don, in a state that knows its Mafia dons very well. He also has run the equivalent of a Mafia family, which has forced its hires into every government-connected agency in the state. For all I know, he has forced hires into most corporations, as well, especially those of banking and financial services. (That is what the mob in NJ did - I worked in a brokerage firm with a member of the Provenzano family - yes, THAT one.

        The entire list of state agencies needs to be examined to sever the Christie appointees. Think that is harsh? It is exactly what the Christie administration did when it took office, releasing every political appointee of the former Governor, Democrat Jon Corzine.

        The branch that is most imperative for examination is the judicial, where Christie has been installing his hand-picked partisans since 2009. As the former US Attorney in a state where money has bought justice, Christie has a great many friends who either have, or crave, money - and are willing to sell themselves to one of the most powerful Governors in the country. Perhasp New Jersey will finally figure out that it shouldn't put all the much power into the hands of one man. He might turn out to be a corrupt criminal.

        They say "cut back" - we say "fight back"!

        by Louise on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 04:19:58 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  you are batshit crazy (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          joesig, Australian2, ffour

          RICO is serious stuff. To be more clear, especially because of it massive power and it wide-reaching vague construction, RICO is highly problematic. RICO has been enacted to deal with organized crime, not political parties, and for this it has machinations that are outright Orwellian. Applying RICO on political opponents is another large step towards an authoritarian dictatorship.

          Many folks around here are having a massive personal Benghazi with Bridegate.  I personally don't know why, but hey.

          Do you really think Hillary Clinton would be in trouble against Christie?

          •  Agree with all, except last sentence. (0+ / 0-)

            A moderate (seeming) Christie, coming off a huge bipartisan win in a blue state, and hugely attractive to independents and soft Democrats who want no part of more Clinton drama, would defeat Hillary.  Only Hillary has the power to unite the GOP, and the Democrats cannot afford defections in that scenario: and I predict there would be many.

            RICO for politics is a disaster, as you said.

            To avoid starting dumb wars, punish the dumb people who vote for them.

            by joesig on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 09:30:32 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I couldn't see Christie getting through (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              fenway49, Louise

              the Republican primaries, even before Bridgegate. And now, you can be sure that tea party Republicans will howl about Christie as an embodiment of some kind of old-school urban Democratic machine politics, the corruption of Tammany Hall brought into the twenty-first century.

              That's the same image that they tried to hang around Pres. Obama's neck, without success: "Chicago-style political tactics." They shouldn't have too much difficulty pulling it off with Christie.

              Nothing requires a greater effort of thought than arguments to justify the rule of non-thought. -- Milan Kundera

              by Dale on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 05:41:40 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I agree, after the bridge. His only road to vic.. (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Louise, Dale

                tory was a narrow GOP primary win against crazy tea-partiers and then counting on the Republicans to unite in their hatred of all things Clinton.  It would have worked.  Now, not so much, if people actually end up getting charged and the press isn't seen as overstepping.

                To avoid starting dumb wars, punish the dumb people who vote for them.

                by joesig on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 07:32:33 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

          •  Well, we'll find out over the next 2 years (3+ / 0-)

            Do you live in New Jersey? There are a great many "batshit crazy" people like me. Perhaps we were driven to that point  by living in his corrupt regime. It's no exaggeration to say that Christie is like a Mafia don so RICO charges are appealing if impossible. Time alone will tell. This scandal isn't even a week old.

            Bv the way, it wasn't me that suggested them, but the author of the diary. What I said was that they would be delicious...as part of the dish named, "Revenge," best eaten cold.

            They say "cut back" - we say "fight back"!

            by Louise on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 01:37:35 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I have (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              OleHippieChick, mkor7, cris0000, Louise

              never lived in Jersey, but have long loved NYC, so yeah, I'm interested in this.

              And all I can say is, I hope this scandal

              takes Christie DOWN

              b/c he has proven to be unfit for office. And not b/c of this scandal alone: he proved it when he denied his state the federal money and the local jobs that were ready to go to create another tunnel under the Hudson.

              NJ commuters to NYC needed that tunnel. It would also have benefited the city: but it would have had more benefit for the millions (yes, you read that correctly: millions) who commute to NYC every day from Jersey and points west or north.

              English usage is sometimes more than mere taste, judgment and education - sometimes it's sheer luck, like getting across the street. E. B. White

              by Youffraita on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 01:47:54 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Agreed on the tunnel (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Louise, Youffraita

                But the people of the state didn't toss him out over it. A shameful election for the NJ Democratic Party.

                “Republicans...think American standard of living is a fine thing--so long as it doesn't spread to all the people... And they admire of Government of the United States so much that they would like to buy it.” Harry S. Truman

                by fenway49 on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 07:37:38 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

          •  This use of RICO is not political. In Providence (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Louise, Capt Crunch, semiot

            R.I. The mayor, Buddy Cianci turned city hall into a crooked extortion machine.  He was prosecuted under RICO, along with his chief of staff and other city employees, and he did over 5 years in a federal pen.  The corrupt organization can be a public agency as well as a private one.  The question is whether 2 predicate crimes were committed in furtherance of the conspiracy.  Probably, but not certain here.  More investigation needed.

            Patriotism may be the last refuge of scoundrels, but religion is assuredly the first.

            by StrayCat on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 07:16:32 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  We're going to get investigation, all right (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              semiot

              Now the Feds are going to investigate Christie's use of Sandy funds as part of what could be called an extortion machine. If the Governor liked you, you got your rebuilding grant. If the Governor became "sauced" at,  or irritated by, something you said, or did, or didn't say, or didn't do, then you didn't get your money.

              Christie has a very thin skin and remembers every slight so there were lots of people he hurt in the 40 municipalities up and down New Jersey's tidal shoreline of 1,792 miles

              The total amount of Federal Sandy aid that NJ received was $793.8 million. That's a hell of a lot of money to use as carrot and stick. No wonder Christie would go out of his way to give Obama a hug!

              They say "cut back" - we say "fight back"!

              by Louise on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 08:42:57 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  "...Lucy, I'm gonna need some more popcorn..." (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        StrayCat, Capt Crunch

        Great posting...!  

        I particularity loved the RICO statue insertion.

        I have forwarded your diary in everyone in my f/f address book.

        Thanx...great work.

        I am General Maximus Decimus Meridius. Father of a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife and...I shall have my vengeance in this life or the next.

        by 2questions on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 06:02:47 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Witch Hunt! Partisan sniping! Benghaziiiiiii! (36+ / 0-)

    Just warming up for the coming "defense" of Christie, et al.

    If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

    by CwV on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 08:49:45 AM PST

  •  I would not be at all surprised if all sorts (43+ / 0-)

    of indictments, state and federal, come out of all of this. Soon, I suspect, there will be a number of people involved who will be singing Wagner in exchange for deals and/or immunity.

    Not to mention civil suits.

    This is going to get more messy, the more pieces of the puzzle get put into place.

    These are precisely the kinds of crimes for which prison is an appropriate punishment. If, indeed, crimes were committed. We'll see.

    Pope Francis: the Thumb of Christ in the eyes of the Pharisees.

    by commonmass on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 08:57:14 AM PST

  •  I love where this is going (33+ / 0-)

    Little fish rolling over on a racketeer for crimes that cross a state line.  No telling what will be unearthed when soldiers start to squeal.

    Christie may soon be starring in a his own gangster movie.  

    If cats could blog, they wouldn't

    by crystal eyes on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 09:09:38 AM PST

    •  Oh but the irony. (6+ / 0-)

      Christie made his bones as the US Attorney in one of the NJ judicial districts. He busted many politicians and public officials, overwhelmingly lowly and democrat, using the very laws the diarist posits. Christie knows how well these laws can serve the US Attorneys purpose if he so chooses -- as Christie himself did way, way, too many times in his federal prosecutorial career. He used these bones to propel him to the governor's office.

      Christie better pray that the current US Attorney doesn't have half his ambition when he was running the office.

      “I’m able to fly, do what I want, essentially. I guess that’s what freedom is — no limits.” Marybeth Onyeukwu -- Brooklyn DREAMer.

      by chuco35 on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 10:44:16 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Congratulations. (21+ / 0-)

    First Christie diary I've seen that put RICO at the top.  That could be where this is going, if there's any real justice left in this country.

    Somebody's going to squeal if you put enough pressure on him.  

  •  Eric Holders DOJ? (23+ / 0-)

    playing hardball, successfully, with a prominent Republican? The whistle blowers are the ones that should be worried.  From Weed to whistle blowers to wall street, the doj can't seem to find the right target, and holder seems to only play rough with Democrats

    "Searches with nonspecific warrants were ‘the single immediate cause of the American Revolution.’” Justice Wm. Brennan, referring to the 4th Amendment

    by Nailbanger on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 09:43:20 AM PST

    •  Now you are harshing my buzz. (20+ / 0-)

      A guy can hope, right, right?

      Please don't piss all over my shoes and tell me it is raining. I know better. And you're getting my shoes wet.

      by kaminpdx on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 09:51:02 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  If Holder & Co. were looking for a ... (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rk2, Chi, Dirtandiron, Nailbanger, StrayCat

      ... defense of their record against, say, careful scrutiny of their record, having a headline prosecution in this scandal would be excellent talking-point fodder.

      Plus the more focus on Christiegate, the less risk of TPP bubbling up into the mess media, which cannot chew gum and walk at the same time.

      So while there's never any certainty that Holder & Co. will vigorously pursue a case for the right reasons, there's at least some hope they might vigorously pursue this particular case for the wrong reasons.

      Support Lesbian Creative Works with Yuri anime and manga from ALC Publishing

      by BruceMcF on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 11:17:55 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I will be happy either motivation, (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Stude Dude, Sylv, Dirtandiron, Louise

        but they shouldn't count on the rest of us not paying attention. I just saw today, that house dems are pissy about TPP as they should be.

        Please don't piss all over my shoes and tell me it is raining. I know better. And you're getting my shoes wet.

        by kaminpdx on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 11:26:34 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Indeed (0+ / 0-)
          So while there's never any certainty that Holder & Co. will vigorously pursue a case for the right reasons, there's at least some hope they might vigorously pursue this particular case for the wrong reasons.
          I will be happy either motivation
          What a surprise, counsellor.  I rest my case.

          Dammit Jim, I'm a lawyer, not a grammarian. So sue me.

          by Pi Li on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 01:14:53 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  What case? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Capt Crunch

            Prosecutors have their own motivations. You had your motivations when bringing a case or choosing specific charges. Whatever motivates Holder to do his job, I don't care. Investigate, and if he or the local Fed prosecutor believes charges should be brought, then it is all good. Again, whatever motivates them to do their job when they might otherwise not, is okay with me.

            Please don't piss all over my shoes and tell me it is raining. I know better. And you're getting my shoes wet.

            by kaminpdx on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 01:35:10 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  No (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              coffeetalk, salmo

              I never brought a case for the "wrong reasons". I brought a case when I was convinced of someone's guilt and had enough evidence to secure a conviction. If the Attorney General of the United States prosecuted Christie for the "wrong reasons" (i.e. political) THAT would be abuse of power.

              Perspective.

              Dammit Jim, I'm a lawyer, not a grammarian. So sue me.

              by Pi Li on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 01:40:23 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Look at his record of political prosecutions (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                PeteZerria, StrayCat

                130 convictions, 0 acquittals, against "corrupt public servants," almost every one a Democrat (and potential political rival?) That should be enough to start with.

                Or how about his leak of the subpoena his office had delivered to Sen. Robert Menendez on Sept. 8 2006?

                On the night of Thursday, September 8 — less than two months before the general election — word leaked to the Star-Ledger and WNBC-TV that Menendez was under investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s office and that records had been subpoenaed from a Hudson County nonprofit organization that received federal funds and that also rented space in a building owned by Menendez...Menendez protested that it was a smear job, but his opponents quickly fired back that Christie’s record on corruption as U.S. Attorney was unimpeachable — he’d prosecuted polticians from both parties.

                Salon

                Ask yourself how he held onto his position as US Attorney during the Bush administration, when prosecutors who weren't doing Karl Rove's bidding were summarily being axed.

                They say "cut back" - we say "fight back"!

                by Louise on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 05:13:04 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

      •  Recs for Christiegate. (8+ / 0-)

        I think it's time we start using that more particular term.

        •  Actually, I enjoy writing about this. I (0+ / 0-)

          have a perspective and THIS SITE is for expressing a perspective. If you have a problem with that you should think about going somewhere else. Every person who writes a diary likes being on the recced list. There is nothing wrong with that either. There are tons of diaries about the subject because people want to talk about it. You got a problem with that?

          If I misunderstand what your point was, then I will apologize.

          Please don't piss all over my shoes and tell me it is raining. I know better. And you're getting my shoes wet.

          by kaminpdx on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 11:53:22 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Did you mean this for me? (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Cedwyn, john07801, PsychoSavannah

            I simply rec'd Bruce's use of Christiegate instead of Bridgegate because it's drawing attention to Christie himself. I love all of these diaries, or I wouldn't be here. It's fascinating to many of us, if for no other reason than to see the depths of vindictiveness of some of these pols. Please don't piss on my shoes.

            •  my bad, like I said, I could misunderstand (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              rk2

              Also, I will check out Radiohead, never heard their stuff.

              Please don't piss all over my shoes and tell me it is raining. I know better. And you're getting my shoes wet.

              by kaminpdx on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 12:11:00 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  And for those of us old enough (5+ / 0-)

              I'm really loving the deja vu of Nixon, et al.

              A huge reelection victory wasn't enough so his law-breaking minions pulled a stupid stunt which brought down the entire show.  One of the Watergate burglars even had a White House phone number in his pocket!  Major-league dumb!

              And Nixon orchestrated the coverup, personally.  Why doesn't anyone realize it's the coverup that gets you?

              Then it was discovered that he was using the FBI and IRS to fuck with his enemies.  Bullying, presidential style!

              Christiegate will really get going when the involved parties have to play the Indictment or Immunity game.  Classic!

              Nobody doesn't wish he had more education.

              by john07801 on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 01:10:36 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  I'm not sure most people realise how silly... (5+ / 0-)

    ...this all is.

    Most of the stuff in the previous diary was wrong, and based on pure speculation.  Like this diary, people are trying to match up any crime they possibly can with the "facts" of this case.  Never mind that in almost every instance, people are construing the statutes in a way they were not meant to be construed, and hoping that crimes will be charged based on a factual situation those statutes were not designed to address. Remember, criminal statues are meant to be interpreted very narrowly, and almost all the "analysis" in these diaries require you to interpret them pretty broadly.

    I'm not saying that a creative prosecutor can't find something to charge here.  If I looked at 48 hours in the average persons life I promise you I can find more than one crime to charge them with. And when I was a prosecutor, I probably could have found at least something to nail these NJ guys with.

    But I promise you, no one in this case will be charged under any kind of terrorism statute, despite the hopes of many here. It won't happen, period. NO CHANCE. ZERO.

    2) No one is gong to be charged under RICO.  This is no the type of activity the RICO statutes are designed for. There's no chance of RICO charges, given the facts as we know them now. If more facts emerge that suggest a genuine criminal conspiracy, that could change, but as it stands now it's not going to happen, period.

    If you think either of these are possibly, you're not reality based.

    I know that many here are salivating at the prospect of terrorism charges, and the 20+years to life most of those laws carry, but those hope are in no way reality based.  This is much like all the jailhouse lawyers on the left who were insisting that Karl Rove was going to be thrown into the US House jail for ignoring a subpoena...it's all just wishful thinking by partisans.

    Honestly, I have to question the rationality of people who think, or hope, that somehow all this is going to result in or terrorism or RICO charges?  Do people here really think that those involved in what is ultimately a case of pretty routine (though inexcusable) political payback should spend decades in jail and be marked as terrorists? As despicable as these people are, were not talking about terrorism, or organised criminal activity, and it would be a pervasion of justice if something like that to occur. Which of course, it won't. And no serious lawyer who knows the first thing about criminal law would suggest otherwise.

    Dammit Jim, I'm a lawyer, not a grammarian. So sue me.

    by Pi Li on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 10:02:00 AM PST

    •  No serious lawyer would think in such an (26+ / 0-)

      absolutist way. We are at the beginning of this thing. And you are just plain wrong. If there were improper acts to influence a government project, THAT is exactly what RICO was written for.

      Please don't piss all over my shoes and tell me it is raining. I know better. And you're getting my shoes wet.

      by kaminpdx on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 10:10:50 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Also, I DO think RICO (13+ / 0-)

        should come into play. Using a governmental office for personal gain, even if for a contributor, CANNOT be allowed to happen.

        In addition, as I said in the diary, RICO or other charges that are possible are used to force someone to plea to something less. I am sure you have seen many a prosecutor run up the score just to make sure someone doesn't even want to go there. That is if you do criminal law.

        Please don't piss all over my shoes and tell me it is raining. I know better. And you're getting my shoes wet.

        by kaminpdx on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 10:15:11 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I was a prosecutor (5+ / 0-)

        I know what I'm talking about. And as I said, as the facts stand now, there's no RICO charge here.

        You'll see.

        Dammit Jim, I'm a lawyer, not a grammarian. So sue me.

        by Pi Li on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 10:27:24 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  "You'll see"? (11+ / 0-)

          You just undercut yourself. First you argue that

          as the facts stand now
          Then you say, "you'll see". It is one or the other.  

          Further, you may be right. We may never see RICO charges. But that doesn't mean they will not be talked about in negotiations. As a prosecutor, you know how the game goes. Threaten everything, and settle for less.

          Please don't piss all over my shoes and tell me it is raining. I know better. And you're getting my shoes wet.

          by kaminpdx on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 10:37:18 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Perhaps (5+ / 0-)

            But you're assuming that it ever even gets to the criminal stage. I'm fairly certain it won't, at least as things stand now.

            There's been a lot of excited talk here about the US Attorney reviewing this case, as if it's a prelude to near certain criminal charges...or even that the AG thinks there may be criminal charges that need looking into. And that's not necessarily the case, at all. The US Attorney is reviewing the case because it was reverend to them by the Port Authority, as a matter of course. That doesn't mean the US Attorney has concluded, or even thinks, that crimes have been committed...it just means they're reviewing the case for possible criminal violations.

            The other thing to keep in mind is, the Federal "corruption" Statute that Chris Christie himself made his bones on prosecuting corrupt NJ Dems...the so-called "honest services" statute, which would be the most likely avenue toward prosecuting these guys, has largely been gutted by the Supreme Court.

            I get it...this is a partisan sight, and people salivate at even the possibility that a Republican might be charged with RICO, or terrorism...whatever.  So there's kind of a frenzy here that feeds on itself, and people get themselves worked up and convince themselves something is going to happen. A few months ago people were hear "guaranteeing" me that George Zimmerman would be charged with Federal Civil Rights violations in much the same atmosphere (he wasn't, and won't be, as I said at them time).  I wasn't around here then, but I remember many on the left were talking about how Karl Rove, and I can't remember who else, were going to he held in contempt and thrown into the house jail. It's all just partisan wishful thinking.

            Routine political playback like this is almost never prosecuted, even if there are possible crimes involved. If there's money involved, e.g. situations like bribery, that's another story. But in general, things like this that become public have political consequences, not criminal ones.

            I'm not saying there's no chance of some criminal charges, if for whatever reason the US Attorney wants to go that route, you can always find something. But RICO or terrorism? Or Civil Rights violations? Nah, not going to happen, I promise you. Not unless new facts come out, or there's a revelation that Christie orchestrated the whole thing, and that there was much more to it than just closing this bridge...i.e. a tip of the iceberg situation where a smaller event exposes more widespread criminality.

            Dammit Jim, I'm a lawyer, not a grammarian. So sue me.

            by Pi Li on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 10:55:53 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Jesus this was not routine (12+ / 0-)

              it is a despicable act of contempt against real people just trying to go about their day, and they were fucked with for no good reason. The whole thing is shockingly appalling. There should be some jail time for this. People are imprisoned for far less on a regular basis. I was a prison social worker, so I should know.

              •  It is routine (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Reepicheep, VClib, thestructureguy, salmo

                And wouldn't be getting the attention is was were Mr. Christie not a national, oversized figure and potential Presidential candidate. This kind of political hardball and payback goes on (more in big city municipalities like Chicago) all the time.  New Jersey, which historically has had some of the most corrupt state government in the nation (Google it) is just one of the worst.

                Dammit Jim, I'm a lawyer, not a grammarian. So sue me.

                by Pi Li on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 12:26:53 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Can you give us some examples (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Sylv, Dirtandiron

                  of political payback that have been investigated in the past?  It would help me to have a perspective.

                  "YOPP!" --Horton Hears a Who

                  by Reepicheep on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 12:29:15 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Google is your friend (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    VClib, thestructureguy

                    Start with "Chicago political corruption", spend a few days scratching the surface on that, then move on from there.

                    Dammit Jim, I'm a lawyer, not a grammarian. So sue me.

                    by Pi Li on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 12:31:35 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Burden of Proof Is Your Enemy (10+ / 0-)

                      No, they just called your bluff, and you folded with the invalid "google it". Your assertion that this was ordinary political payback, in the face of the NJ Assembly Speaker appearing on MTP while the FBI investigates, puts the burden of proving it's "routine" on you.

                      And just to reinforce how wrong you are, it was Blagojevich's "routine" Chicago political corruption that has him serving out years in Federal prison.

                      You keep saying you "used to be a prosecutor". Maybe you're not anymore because you weren't that good, taking the legal approach of leniency for these high crimes that you're insisting on here.

                      "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

                      by DocGonzo on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 02:28:44 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  and this is far more egregious (11+ / 0-)

                        than Blago's crime; thousands of lives were disrupted, kids missed school time ( imagine how Christie would play it if the superintendent of Fort Lee schools told the kids they could all come to school late for four days; he doesn't even like kids being off two days in Nov so teachers can attend a conference for professional development! ) and emergency services were compromised; police depts. were distracted.  It is an enormous breach of the public trust.

                      •  LOL (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        fenway49
                        in the face of the NJ Assembly Speaker appearing on MTP
                        Citing the NJ Assembly speaker appearing on MTP to back up your argument is akin to a Republican citing Daryl Issa appearing on This Week screaming about Obama. You do understand the speaker is a partisan, don't you?  He as much as called Christie a liar and criminal on MTP before they've even really started...what kind of investigation do you think it will be?  Oh yes...Daryl Issa again.

                        The DOJ is reviewing the matter at the request of the IG from the Port Authority. That is also routine.

                        And just to reinforce how wrong you are, it was Blagojevich's "routine" Chicago political corruption that has him serving out years in Federal prison.
                        Blagojevich was prosecuted under Federal Corruption statutes, for soliciting bribes. As I said more than once in this thread, if more facts come out that indicate serious corruption on the level of what occurred in Illinois, I'll re-evaluate my position.
                        You keep saying you "used to be a prosecutor". Maybe you're not anymore because you weren't that good, taking the legal approach of leniency for these high crimes that you're insisting on here.
                        I understand insults are all you've got.  But do at least try to be original with them. And try to get your facts straight...I never used the term "leniency", nor even suggested it. If anyone is charged with a crime out of this occurrence, then ask me about leniency.

                        Again, I'm not saying that there could not be criminal charges arising from this case. The actions of these staffers are certainly despicable, and Christie at a minimum, whether he knew or not, is going to pay political price. And certainly, a creative prosecutor could find some crimes committed here if there's the will to do so.  But as to the facts are known now, there's no RICO violation, and certainly no violation of any terrorism statutes (as some have suggested).  

                        Dammit Jim, I'm a lawyer, not a grammarian. So sue me.

                        by Pi Li on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 03:04:32 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  You're so cute when your wrong (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          hester, ozsea1
                          As I said more than once in this thread, if more facts come out that indicate serious corruption on the level of what occurred in Illinois, I'll re-evaluate my position.
                          LOL - what does it have to be to rise to the level of serious corruption for you? Kidnapping?

                          You've been blathering away this entire thread about how these diaries and concern are "silly".

                          Then you try the pathetic "Im a lawyer" card. How sad. How truly sad.

                          The DOJ is reviewing the matter at the request of the IG from the Port Authority. That is also routine.
                          No, that is not routine. Can't you even see that? Counselor - can't you even see that ANY DoJ investigation is not routine?

                          Is it routine for Wildstein, on the advice of a REAL attorney, attempting to take the fifth on even admitting he worked at the Port Authority? Counselor?

                          Was Wildstein's attorney - a REAL attorney - giving his client defective guidance there - in your esteemed legal mind?

                          Face it - your sad little argument that this is just a dust up over business as usual is nothing more than your comfy fantasy. It may make you feel wordily and wise but you just look wacky.

                          You're wrong and either you don't have the guts to admit it or you just out to lunch.

                          •  I have asked her why she doesn't just (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Capt Crunch, DocGonzo

                            write a diary to make her argument. I have not seen anything that shows she is willing to do that. Noth said.

                            Please don't piss all over my shoes and tell me it is raining. I know better. And you're getting my shoes wet.

                            by kaminpdx on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 05:52:43 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  That's Not An Argument, It's a Contradiction (0+ / 0-)

                            They won't even post in a comment some examples of how this ranks as "routine", when directly challenged to do so. But they go on and on with their handwaving. QED.

                            "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

                            by DocGonzo on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 09:05:05 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Quod Erat Demonstradum (0+ / 0-)

                            QED: "Which had to be demonstrated." Their assertions were so empty that I had to poke them with a counterargument and challenge to show they had nothing. Which I did, and proved it.

                            "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

                            by DocGonzo on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 09:47:10 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  You just seem like a (0+ / 0-)

                            violator of the No. 1 rule: "Don't be a dick." Disagreeing with someone's take does not justify all of your snide little ad hominem swipes.

                            “Republicans...think American standard of living is a fine thing--so long as it doesn't spread to all the people... And they admire of Government of the United States so much that they would like to buy it.” Harry S. Truman

                            by fenway49 on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 08:04:10 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  There is no ad hominem there. (0+ / 0-)

                            Do you even know what ad hominem is?

                            As for the condescending tone - I stand by it. It is well deserved.

                            Have you even bothered to read her posts?

                            Get a grip.

                          •  Comment was to DocGonzo (0+ / 0-)

                            But you can get a grip as well. Do you make a general practice of insulting everyone who's not 100% on your program?

                            “Republicans...think American standard of living is a fine thing--so long as it doesn't spread to all the people... And they admire of Government of the United States so much that they would like to buy it.” Harry S. Truman

                            by fenway49 on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 08:51:45 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  It was linked to mine (0+ / 0-)

                            So, first of all, learn how to respond to comments. That would be a really nice start.

                            Secondly - have you even read her comments? Have you?

                            Did you manage to read her comment that started this particular thread? The one where she categorized the response to this situation as "silly".

                            Did you happen to read her response to arguments pointing out the wrong-headedness of her characterization?

                            Did you happen to catch her goofball claim to authority because "she was a prosecutor"? Bwaaaahahaha!

                            Thank heavens she's not prosecuting anymore - we'll all be safer!

                            Or how about her response to someone asking her for specific info to back up her claim - you know - when she told them "Google is your friend".

                            Did ya happen to catch that one?

                            Would ya call those kind of posts snark-free and undick-like?

                            Geeeze get a grip AND get a clue.

                          •  No, it wasn't (0+ / 0-)
                            It was linked to mine (0+ / 0-)

                            So, first of all, learn how to respond to comments. That would be a really nice start.

                            Click "Parent" on my comment and you'll see it was in reply to DocGonzo's "You're so cute when you're wrong" rant.

                            Didn't see anything personal in the other poster's comments that rose to the level of the gems contained in that comment.

                            Done arguing with nasty juveniles.

                            “Republicans...think American standard of living is a fine thing--so long as it doesn't spread to all the people... And they admire of Government of the United States so much that they would like to buy it.” Harry S. Truman

                            by fenway49 on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 11:34:19 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Wrong again (0+ / 0-)

                            At least you're consistent.
                            I did click on Parent and it went directly to MY post. Of course you've mixed up my comments with Gonzo's so it's clear you're lacking in... something.

                            Didn't see anything personal in the other poster's comments that rose to the level of the gems contained in that comment
                            .
                            Oh man - you slay me. You're either completely clueless or just trying to BS your way out of it.

                            Either way doesn't work.

                          •  OK, you're right about one thing (0+ / 0-)

                            It was your comment, not DocGonzo's. I made a mistake, which obviously makes me a complete incompetent. I should cancel my subscription, mail my degrees back, and don sackcloth.

                            You're the one with the tone problem. My apologies to DocGonzo.

                            “Republicans...think American standard of living is a fine thing--so long as it doesn't spread to all the people... And they admire of Government of the United States so much that they would like to buy it.” Harry S. Truman

                            by fenway49 on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 11:38:47 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Start with the degrees (0+ / 0-)

                            Then move on to understanding snark, condescension and logic.

                          •  Be a Lawyer (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Capt Crunch

                            They wouldn't be such a legit target for personalized jabs if they hadn't tried the fallacious (and clearly hollow) argument to authority of claiming "I'm a lawyer" while demonstrating such poor lawyer skills.

                            "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

                            by DocGonzo on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 08:36:45 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  What poor lawyer skills? (0+ / 0-)

                            Not agreeing with your take? I'm also a lawyer and skeptical of the RICO argument. We'll see what else comes out.

                            But there's no need for this:

                            You keep saying you "used to be a prosecutor". Maybe you're not anymore because you weren't that good

                            Many people serve as a prosecutor for a while and move on to other lines of work.

                            No need for this:

                            You're so cute when your wrong
                            Then you try the pathetic "Im a lawyer" card. How sad. How truly sad.
                            Was Wildstein's attorney - a REAL attorney - giving his client defective guidance there - in your esteemed legal mind?
                            Face it - your sad little argument that this is just a dust up over business as usual is nothing more than your comfy fantasy. It may make you feel wordily and wise but you just look wacky.
                            You're wrong and either you don't have the guts to admit it or you just out to lunch.
                            First off, ex-prosecutor in a non-US country,
                            I'm not even sure you're a lawyer now that I see you argue.
                            You say, "Be a lawyer." Follow that advice - no lawyer would think these snarky comments help the argument. I don't care about the history with this commenter and I'm not in agreement with all his/her points here. I just find your tone off-putting.

                            “Republicans...think American standard of living is a fine thing--so long as it doesn't spread to all the people... And they admire of Government of the United States so much that they would like to buy it.” Harry S. Truman

                            by fenway49 on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 09:02:38 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Thank heavens you're not my lawyer! (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            DocGonzo

                            You can't even keep track of who said what.

                            You've mixed in my comments with his.

                            I stand by every comment I made - in tone and content.

                            I don't care about the history with this commenter

                            But you sure as hell care about MY comments.

                            Once again - get a grip AND get a clue.

                          •  More "Lawyers" (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Capt Crunch
                            But there's no need for this:
                            You keep saying you "used to be a prosecutor". Maybe you're not anymore because you weren't that good

                            When they're invoking their claimed status as a lawyer as their argument for their point, then of course challenging their quality as lawyer is a directly relevant rebuttal.

                            You're another claimed lawyer rushing to poorly defend some other claimed lawyer. While also mentioning the RICO argument that I am not a part of, that I have explicitly disclaimed. While also conflating my posts with someone else's. You're quite the lawyer, too. And deserving the comment in respect to your claimed lawyer status, since you're claiming some special consideration as a lawyer. The natural response in light of what you've posted is, like theirs, that you're not a very good lawyer, so mentioning it doesn't do your arguments any good.

                            Well, I'm not a lawyer, and I don't claim to be one in my arguments. I'm just correct. I'm having an argument with someone in a forum where they're invoking various fallacies that I have pointed out, including their argument to authority of being a lawyer that's undermined by their actual arguments and other comments.

                            You find the tone off-putting, as a lawyer. Yet you don't seem to find the other claimed lawyer's tone, set by fallacies and baseless condescension, off-putting. To the contrary, it's what seems to have put you onto their defense, since their actual arguments aren't sound. Maybe there's more to being fellow lawyers than soundness of argument that brings you to their defense.

                            "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

                            by DocGonzo on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 10:04:45 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Um, OK (0+ / 0-)

                            Whatever. You did nothing wrong. I'm just rallying to the defense of another lawyer, from another country, whom I've never met because that's just what we do. I criticized your tone, so I'm a bad lawyer.

                            Sure, all the "former prosecutors" in the world are former prosecutors because they were lousy at the job. None of them decided to pursue private practice or another career path because they didn't feel like being a prosecutor forever.

                            And I never conflated your posts with anyone else's.
                            Keep shoveling.

                            “Republicans...think American standard of living is a fine thing--so long as it doesn't spread to all the people... And they admire of Government of the United States so much that they would like to buy it.” Harry S. Truman

                            by fenway49 on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 11:31:03 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Bad Lawyer (0+ / 0-)

                            No, as I have stated in each post in this discussion with you, you seem to be a bad lawyer because of the fallacies you use in argument. Not because you criticized my tone.

                            No, just because one claimed lawyer acts like a bad lawyer, so their claim of ex-prosecutor authority is worth debunking by proposing they might be ex because they were bad, doesn't mean all ex prosecutors were too bad to keep the job. Nor did I say that: you did, yet another strawman.

                            No, you criticized me and listed a series of posts including mine and someone else's as examples, which is what "conflating" means.

                            No, you're the one who keeps shoveling in the hole you've dug for yourself.

                            But other than just grade your submissions "F" (for "fallacy"), on all this relatively superficial detail, how about you explain something substantive: Explain why you're not critical of the other claimed lawyer for failing to even acknowledge my challenge to produce other "routine" political abuses that justify leniency for Christie's operation. You're so upset about my tone, but you've got no time to care about the actual substance I called them on they cannot answer to.

                            So really bad lawyer, now that you're continuing in that vein. More reason to believe you're not even a lawyer at all, since your behavior belies your claim.

                            "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

                            by DocGonzo on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 02:28:38 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                        •  All I've Got (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Capt Crunch, mkor7

                          First off, ex-prosecutor in a non-US country, where's the counterexamples that constitute the whole of the argument you merely refer to (and voluminously spin around)? Burden of proof is on you, regardless of how I underscore what your supposedly existing argument is up against.

                          Second, you are of course arguing for leniency, even though you didn't use that word. You're saying the bridge sabotage is "routine" and shouldn't be prosecuted. That equals leniency.

                          Third, I'm not arguing with you about RICO, or terrorism charges, or anything else except your argument for leniency and your burden of proving there's any argument for it. You're the one with the straw man, despite your attempt to gin up an accusation that I'm arguing a straw man. No, you don't have to use the term to accuse me of it as you did so hollowly.

                          Fourth, "all I've got" is more substantial than insults. I'm not even sure you're a lawyer now that I see you argue. If you call that insulting, you're probably going to be really offended if I continue merely explaining the implications of what you're posting.

                          "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

                          by DocGonzo on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 09:02:24 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                •  It's egregious enough to be getting news play in (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Sylv, Dirtandiron

                  English speaking countries all around the world.

                  •  Yes, I live in one (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    VClib

                    And non-English speaking countries as well.

                    And had this happened to Governor no-name it would be strictly a local story. It's a national story because Christie is a national figure. Not because this kind of political payback is anything unique to local politics.

                    I'm not saying that what happened wasn't absolutely wrong...it was, and anyone who was involved, including the Governor, should suffer the appropriate consequences. Anyone who has ever been stuck in traffic I would be enraged by this (which is part of why this has no much resonant).  I'm merely saying that this is hard the unique, unprecedented, shocking event people are making it out to be. It's getting press because of the people involved more so than what actually occurred.

                    Dammit Jim, I'm a lawyer, not a grammarian. So sue me.

                    by Pi Li on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 12:38:55 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  it would still get big news, if (6+ / 0-)

                      even WITHOUT Christie. It is New Jersey! It is New York! It is the busiest bridge in the US IF NOT the world. A large enough people were affected that it made news then on a regional basis, and then nationally later.

                      If you think it is run of the mill type stuff, write your own diary and explain how.

                      Please don't piss all over my shoes and tell me it is raining. I know better. And you're getting my shoes wet.

                      by kaminpdx on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 12:46:18 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  So what you're saying is... (3+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        VClib, salmo, fenway49

                        ...political payback is nothing new, but what makes this unique is because it's such a big state and big bridge?  Sure...that would be a story. For a day or two.

                        But THIS story is national news, with "legs' because it's Chris Christie.  I can't believe you could say otherwise with a straight face. If you think this would occupy as much space as it does in the headlines, including on here, if it was some run of the mill Governor no one ever heard of, you're being naive.

                        As I said, it's not that a Governor, or mayor, using hard ball tactics like this is exactly news....a neighbourhood doesn't get it's garbage collected for weeks...permits are delayed for for months or years on construction projects....roads and bridges don't get fixed because the priorities are elsewhere, etc. None of this is new. And 99% of it is just local news...even if it's in a big city like Chicago.

                        Chris Christie has a national presence and he wants to be President. He's quite possibly the most divisive Governor in the nation.  This is the huge story it is because he's in it.  That doesn't mean it's not serious, or unacceptable, etc. I never said otherwise. For the record, I think it's completely unacceptable what occurred. But it's the STORY it is because it's Christie.

                        Dammit Jim, I'm a lawyer, not a grammarian. So sue me.

                        by Pi Li on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 12:58:09 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Insults of calling people naive wouldn't (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Dirtandiron, mkor7

                          get you anywhere. Besides, remember John Corzine? He got tons of news that a governor in North Dakota would HAVE NEVER gotten, just because he was the governor of NEW JERSEY. Just like McGreavy got for the same reason.

                          Like I said, write your own diary and explain how it is no big deal. then defend it.

                          Please don't piss all over my shoes and tell me it is raining. I know better. And you're getting my shoes wet.

                          by kaminpdx on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 01:07:40 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                        •  I'm not sure I understand (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          StrayCat

                          Without disagreeing with your points with respect to the question of a political payback, it seems to me that if this was tied in some provable way to the Ft. Lee billion dollar project, where the goal was to extract political contributions or extort contracts for favored firms, then the sums involved and the direct criminality would seem to warrant significant charges.  Are you arguing that even that is unlikely to cause the prosecutors assigned to this so far to make a case whereby the participants, including Christie, would face the possibility of significant fines and lengthy incarceration?

                    •  Nonsense. This would be national news regardless (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Sylv, Dirtandiron

                      of which State's Gov (or associates) pulled this kind of stunt. It is a bigger story because it's Christie, but it would be a national story regardless.
                      Internationally, Christie doesn't make or break a story.
                      The international interest is there because the story itself is compelling.

                      •  Yeah, right (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        VClib

                        The national and international press would be all over a story for day after day, at the top of the headlines, about bad traffic on a bridge because some local staffers wanted some political payback 5 months ago.

                        I'm sure the fact that Chris Christie is involved is just incidental.

                        I live in the UK, and the only angle that people care about here is that it involves Christie. Otherwise, no one would care.

                        Dammit Jim, I'm a lawyer, not a grammarian. So sue me.

                        by Pi Li on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 01:01:30 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Again, it's a bigger story because of Christie's (5+ / 0-)

                          ambitions, but it would be a worthy story regardless when you stop traffic on a major artery between NY and NJ for days around Sep 11.

                          PS I am an Aussie, and here people just can't fathom what (expletives deleted) Gov Christie and his cronies are. The fact he was touted as a Pres candidate just adds piquancy to the show.

                          •  I'm an Aussie as well (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            HiKa

                            And I think the reason people back home are fascinated by it is because this kind of scandal is just so...American. It embodies the worst stereotypes of big city, bare knuckle US politics.  It could actually be a (bad) movie script.

                            Dammit Jim, I'm a lawyer, not a grammarian. So sue me.

                            by Pi Li on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 01:42:50 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                •  Have you ever driven over the George Washington (0+ / 0-)

                  Bridge?

                  Where are all the jobs, Boehner?

                  by Dirtandiron on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 02:08:10 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  You must've been a favorite of defense attorneys (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Capt Crunch, kaminpdx

                  that's all I can say

        •  Thanks heavens you don't prosecute now (17+ / 0-)

          From what I can see we'll all be much safer. LOL

          Sooooo tired of hearing this I know better 'cause I've been to law school. What a load.

          There's lawyers falling all over themselves to get to this case and you act like it's nothing.

          Wildsteins's own lawyer wouldn't let him testify unless he was granted immunity from BOTH state and federal charges.

        •  Who knows what documents will come to light here? (0+ / 0-)

          And who knows who will start talking? Or what they will say? We don't know until it all comes out.

          Where are all the jobs, Boehner?

          by Dirtandiron on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 02:07:20 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Depends on what comes out later (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          VClib, Capt Crunch, fenway49

          RICO cases tend to be organized crime, i.e. hits for money. As I understand it (having practiced civil law, not criminal), the big advantage of RICO is that it allows the prosecutor to cumulate multiple small actions into a BFD, and like criminal conspiracy, allows you to up-charge people for actions (like murder) committed by other members of the gang/crime syndicate.

          Based on what has been released and discussed so far, RICO would be a huge over-charging by the prosecutor. However, the emails may lead into other avenues, and depending on who elects to sing for a sweet plea deal, this could grow. So if I were advising one of the potential defendants, I would want to keep RICO and the USA Patriot Act in the folder even though they're pretty remote possibilities.

          As I recall, several of the Watergate defendants did a couple of years of prison time (and lost their law licenses, those who had them). The criminal activity there was much clearer (burglary, perjury, bribery, obstruction of justice) than it is so far in this case.

           

        •  OK, a RICO prosecution is not easy, but has been (0+ / 0-)

          successfully accomplished in fact patterns similar to this one.  And not for nothing, the maximum sentences are not often handed down.  Mayor Cianci faced many years, but was sentenced to just under 6 years for his conspiracy to use city hall as a corrupt organization.  So, though we do not yet know whether the predicate crimes were committed by any of the actors, (and they do not have to be the same actors) the facts as known today suggest that it is probable that such did occur, and thus it is not overwrought to consider RICO in this matter.  Just another opinion from a former prosecutor.

          Patriotism may be the last refuge of scoundrels, but religion is assuredly the first.

          by StrayCat on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 07:27:31 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  See my comment below re: RICO (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Pi Li, emelyn, VClib

        you have to show (1) two racketeering acts; (2) from the list of predicate acts; (3) done in conjunction with an ongoing criminal enterprise (and identify that ongoing criminal enterprise).    

        You can't just say, "wow, this is a really bad thing that a couple of people got together to do, so there must be a RICO charge here somewhere."

        •  You are funny. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Capt Crunch, ozsea1, StrayCat

          A few days ago, when this first broke, you were arguing to me that there was no such thing as a crime of abuse of office. Now that multiple prosecutors offices are investigating Christie's office, here you are loudly proclaiming this can't be a potential RICO violation.

          I'm not convinced that you know as much about the law as you think you do.

          The truth is, if a prosecutor WANTS to charge it as RICO they could. All they have to do is find the predicate felonies, which if the acts reported in the media and hinted at in the emails turns out to be true, will not be difficult.

          Whether a prosecutor chooses to charge this under RICO is unknown. It would be novel. But that doesn't mean the facts don't fit the statute. Certainly your and Pi Li's mocking of the suggestion is unwarranted.

          You see things; and you say “Why?” But I dream things that never were; and I say “Why not?” --George Bernard Shaw, JFK, RFK

          by CenPhx on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 03:25:23 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  There's a difference between (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            VClib

            what I am saying -- which is based on everything we know now, there's no basis whatsoever -- none, zero, nada -- for a RICO charge against anybody, much less Christie, and what you are saying, which is you hope they find something that lets them make a RICO charge.

            Sure, if they find Christie repeatedly took bribes, or extorted money from people in exchange for re-opening roads on a regular basis (and to find extortion, the bad guy has to TELL the victim what he wants in exchange for doing something), maybe there's a RICO violation.  But you can say that about every public official out there.  As things stand now, there's no basis to even start talking about RICO.  

            What you have is a very very very bad thing done by someone in the governor's office.  But a very very very bad thing, even if it might be a violation of some state law, is not always a predicate act for RICO.    There's no facts as yet to establish a predicate act even by THAT person, much less by Christie.  

            •  Wrong - amusingly so (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              CenPhx
              what you are saying, which is you hope they find something that lets them make a RICO charge.
              CenPhx never said that. Ever. Never even implied it.

              CenPhx was just laughing at you for constantly having to back peddle in your comments concerning this situation.

              CenPhx also questioned your legal expertise.

              Me? I just question your reading comprehension. LOL

    •  Perhaps you're correct. (7+ / 0-)

      But I think we should wait and see.  The tone of the released e mails leaves no doubt that there was a criminal conspiracy, imo, mens reaall over the place, in fact, and there are thefts of Sandy money and efforts to impoverish the state for the benefit of cronies.  We have a truncated set of facts at present.  

      No one knows what will happen.  Including you.

      •  True (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        johnny wurster, Cedwyn, coffeetalk

        And as I said, my analysis of the situation is based on the facts as we know them now.  I don't know how many times I have to repeat that.

        If new facts come out, I'll adjust my analysis accordingly. But as they are known now, this is not a RICO case, at least in the traditional sense, and there certainly isn't a terrorism case here as many here have suggested.

        Again, I'm not saying a creative prosecutor can't find criminality here and no I don't "know" what will happen, I suppose anything can happen. But based on my experience, what I know about the law, and how these thing are typically handled, I can say I'm pretty confident there's no RICO or terrorism case here with the facts as they are now.

        Dammit Jim, I'm a lawyer, not a grammarian. So sue me.

        by Pi Li on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 11:08:11 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Blagojevich is in Fed prison for corruption. (18+ / 0-)

      There are potential crimes here, state and federal. Until we know the motives behind this clustercluck we cannot know from which direction the feces will fly. Yes, this is speculation as to the motives of the players, including Christie, but we are at least engaging in some sort of informed speculation.

      If nothing else, the whole thing is an interesting window into how politics are played in New Jersey under the current governor.

    •  Wildstein's lawyer doesn't think it's silly (18+ / 0-)

      And he's a REAL lawyer.
      He wouldn't let his client testify at the hearing unless granted immunity from state AND federal charges.

      Port Authority Executive Director Pat Foye's email ending the lane shutdown:
      "This hasty and ill-advised decision has resulted in delays to emergency vehicles. I pray that no life has been lost or trip of a hospital- or hospice-bound patient delayed," he wrote. He added: "I believe this hasty and ill-advised decision violates Federal Law and the laws of both States."

      That doesn't sound like he thinks it's silly

      The U.S. Attorney for New Jersey is reviewing the facts to "determine whether a federal law was implicated."

      That doesn't sound like he thinks it's silly either.

      Finally - what if the lanes had been closed due to a radical Islamic organization's deliberate damage to the bridge that took four days to repair? No lives were lost in damaging the bridge and one lane was left open. After the four days it took to repair the bridge the lanes were back to normal.

      Would that be a situation where creative prosecution should be silly? Would that be a situation where speculation of the different statutes possibly violated would be silly?

    •  If $ is part of the equation and motive (8+ / 0-)

      Kornacki's revelations about the billion-dollar development that was up for financing at the same time as the closure could fit into a plausible RICO narrative.

      There are lots of facts and evidence waiting to come to light.

      Maybe they could target Christie or people very close to him.

      Skepticism of all the elite institutions, not trust, is what required for successful leadership in this era. Digby

      by coral on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 11:27:36 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, if money is involved, it's a different story (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        johnny wurster, salmo
        There are lots of facts and evidence waiting to come to light.
        Absolutely. And my conclusions that this is not a RICO, or terrorism case, are based on the facts as they stand now.

        Dammit Jim, I'm a lawyer, not a grammarian. So sue me.

        by Pi Li on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 11:42:10 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Of course money is involved... (3+ / 0-)

          The known facts include significant economic disruption across state lines... tens of thousands of workers were late, deliveries delayed or not made, connections missed. The dollar amount may be unknown, but it is not small.

          The businesses and individuals impacted would enthusiastically disagree that money has not yet appeared in the narrative, and will likely be screaming for a pound of flesh for a long time.

          •  that is why there have already been (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Capt Crunch

            civil cases filed.

            Please don't piss all over my shoes and tell me it is raining. I know better. And you're getting my shoes wet.

            by kaminpdx on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 12:40:51 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Money involved as in corruption (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            coffeetalk

            Ugh. I thought that would be obvious. We're talking about possible CRIMINAL violations.

            The fact that people may have suffered economic consequences as a result of what happened is a matter for the civil courts, but has nothing to do with a corruption case.

            Dammit Jim, I'm a lawyer, not a grammarian. So sue me.

            by Pi Li on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 01:05:18 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  That's not "money is involved" for purposes of (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Pi Li

            RICO.  For one of the predicate acts for RICO, money has to be "involed" in the sense of bribery or extortion -- like somebody bribed them to block the lanes, or they blocked the lanes as a way to extort money from someone -- like "give me a million dollars or the lanes stay closed."  

    •  All depends on one's perspective (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      OleHippieChick

      when the public sector is involved.  I remember as a Supervisor in a child welfare agency - meeting with a client whose children were removed from her custody.  She sat at my desk late on a Friday afternoon.  We were alone in my office.  She threatened to kill me.  The second she left my office I called the police and my administrator/supervisor.

      When things are in the context of serious government action/business that involves peoples very lives/movements/custody/freedoms, - then everything is taken  to a much higher level.

      Damn right this is RICO material.  Damn right this is behavior that calls for bringing someone to justice.  It is common to underestimate how serious these issues are.  With some mindfulness, it quickly becomes clear enough that this is serious shit.

  •  18 U.S.C. § 371, Conspiracy to Defraud the U.S. (11+ / 0-)

    Per US Attorneys Criminal Resource Manual:

    The general conspiracy statute, 18 U.S.C. § 371, creates an offense "[i]f two or more persons conspire either to commit any offense against the United States, or to defraud the United States, or any agency thereof in any manner or for any purpose. (emphasis added). See Project, Tenth Annual Survey of White Collar Crime, 32 Am. Crim. L. Rev. 137, 379-406 (1995)(generally discussing § 371).

    [...]

    The intent required for a conspiracy to defraud the government is that the defendant possessed the intent (a) to defraud, (b) to make false statements or representations to the government or its agencies in order to obtain property of the government, or that the defendant performed acts or made statements that he/she knew to be false, fraudulent or deceitful to a government agency, which disrupted the functions of the agency or of the government. It is sufficient for the government to prove that the defendant knew the statements were false or fraudulent when made. The government is not required to prove the statements ultimately resulted in any actual loss to the government of any property or funds, only that the defendant's activities impeded or interfered with legitimate governmental functions.

    •  I don't think we're looking at verbal fraud. (0+ / 0-)

      Try to find one that discusses conspiracy to create havoc----to endanger the lives of persons. I don't know if there are laws against retaliation, but that seems to be the motive, even if we still don't know what was being retaliated against. We know there WAS a conspiracy, because so many seem to be involved. Wish they could show Christie was part of the conspiracy.

      •  Have you skipped the part before the or ... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        HappyinNM, Chi
        [i]f two or more persons conspire either to commit any offense against the United States, or to defraud the United States, or any agency thereof in any manner or for any purpose.
        The question is to what extent these actions constituted a conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States. IANDL, so I don't know if interference with interstate commerce is an offense against the United States as such, or whether violation of the terms of the Federal enabling legislation for the Port Authority would constitute that, but it would appear that the focus would be on the first of the list, rather than the second.

        Support Lesbian Creative Works with Yuri anime and manga from ALC Publishing

        by BruceMcF on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 11:27:30 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  What statement was made to a United States (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Pi Li, VClib

      agency with the intent to defraud the united States government?  What property of the United States government were they attempting to obtain?  

      You can't just read the last sentence of that.  You have to read ALL of the elements of the crime.

      •  Here is more from the Criminal Resource Manual (0+ / 0-)

        And here is the link to it.

        Although this language is very broad, cases rely heavily on the definition of "defraud" provided by the Supreme Court in two early cases, Hass v. Henkel, 216 U.S. 462 (1910), and Hammerschmidt v. United States, 265 U.S. 182 (1924). In Hass the Court stated:

         

              The statute is broad enough in its terms to include any conspiracy for the purpose of impairing, obstructing or defeating the lawful function of any department of government . . . (A)ny conspiracy which is calculated to obstruct or impair its efficiency and destroy the value of its operation and reports as fair, impartial and reasonably accurate, would be to defraud the United States by depriving it of its lawful right and duty of promulgating or diffusing the information so officially acquired in the way and at the time required by law or departmental regulation.
        Hass, 216 U.S. at 479-480. In Hammerschmidt, Chief Justice Taft, defined "defraud" as follows:

         

             To conspire to defraud the United States means primarily to cheat the Government out of property or money, but it also means to interfere with or obstruct one of its lawful governmental functions by deceit, craft or trickery, or at least by means that are dishonest. It is not necessary that the Government shall be subjected to property or pecuniary loss by the fraud, but only that its legitimate official action and purpose shall be defeated by misrepresentation, chicane or the overreaching of those charged with carrying out the governmental intention.
        Hammerschmidt, 265 U.S. at 188.
        •  You are misreading the statute. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          VClib

          That statute is conspiracy to defraud the UNITED STATES -- which means the federal government, or a federal agency.

           The bridge is run by the Port Authority, as I understand it.  The Port Authority is not the United States and is not an agency of the United States.   I am not aware of any conspiracy to defraud an agency of the federal government that as come out so far. I don't see how shutting down lanes of a bridge controlled by the Port Authority is a conspiracy to defraud the United States government or a federal agency.  

          •  Presumably, the Department of Transportation has (0+ / 0-)

            interest/investment in the flow of traffic on Interstate 95, which passes over the George Washington Bridge, for example.

            •  The flow of traffic on I-95 was not affected. (0+ / 0-)

              The flow of traffic entering from local streets in Fort Lee was.

              warning: snark probably above

              by NE2 on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 04:27:21 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Sigh. Read the statute. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              VClib

              It requires and intent to defraud the United States or a United States Agency.

              What fraud were they intending to perpetrate on the Department of Transportation???

              The fact that the DOT has an interest in a nearby roadway is not a fact that would, if true, help to establish an intent to defraud the DOT.

              •  Read the court interpretations of the statute (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                ozsea1

                I linked to them above, and they say in essence that obstructing any "lawful governmental function" is a violation:

                To conspire to defraud the United States means primarily to cheat the Government out of property or money, but it also means to interfere with or obstruct one of its lawful governmental functions by deceit, craft or trickery, or at least by means that are dishonest.
                YMMV
  •  The problem is (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dirtandiron, salmo

    these laws generally describe require that a thing of value was targeted, or gained by a conspiracy.

     Its very hard to establish whether after-the-fact meanness in retaliation for a refusal to endorse is an effort to extort a thing of value within these legal definitions, for instance in the Hobbs Act.

    While a political endorsement might be a thing of value, the lane closing was not an attempt to acquire that endorsement.

    I wish the PA guy from NY had said exactly what statutes he thought were violated.  We may find out soon.

    “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

    by 6412093 on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 11:46:08 AM PST

    •  That's not necessarily a problem (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      6412093, Dirtandiron
      The problem is ... these laws generally describe require that a thing of value was targeted, or gained by a conspiracy.
      Per the document I cited above:
      The government is not required to prove the statements ultimately resulted in any actual loss to the government of any property or funds, only that the defendant's activities impeded or interfered with legitimate governmental functions.
      •  wigwam, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dirtandiron

        when I reread your link, I keep getting hung up on the references to attempting to obtain property of the government as an element in these crimes.

        If these false statements weren't made in an effort to obtain gov't property, I'm uncertain this statute applies.

        “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

        by 6412093 on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 12:57:38 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Chris Christie - a repub with a jobs program (6+ / 0-)

    for lawyers.

  •  RICO? Not. Gonna. Happen. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pi Li, StrayCat

    And anyone who has dealt with REAL RICO cases in federal court can tell you that.  

    A prosecutor may be able to find some kind of criminality here, but a couple of people deciding to wrongfully shut down several lanes of traffic on a hugely busy bridge does not constitute a RICO violation under any stretch of that statute that I can imagine.

    It was wrong, it was bad, it was inexcusable, and if Christie was in any way not telling the truth at that press conference he's in serious political trouble (remember, impeachment, like some Democrats are discussing, is a POLITICAL process, not a legal one).  

    But really, people are living in fantasy land if they think there are going to be RICO charges.  

    Remember, criminal statutes are strictly construed.  That means you give them the narrowest possible reading. You can't say, "hmm, you could argue that this comes under that criminal statute."  You can't stretch it to cover bad conduct that's not CLEARLY prohibited by that particular statute.  If there's any question about whether a particular criminal statute covers a particular case of wrongdoing, the answer is it doesn't, because of that strict construction of criminal statutes.

    So, for starters, define the "ongoing criminal organization" and the underlying predicate acts that the RICO law requires as a prerequisite.  Even the Wiki summary makes that clear:

    Under RICO, a person who has committed "at least two acts of racketeering activity" drawn from a list of 35 crimes—27 federal crimes and 8 state crimes—within a 10-year period, if such acts are related in one of four specified ways to an "enterprise," can be charged with racketeering. Those found guilty of racketeering can be fined up to $25,000 and sentenced to 20 years in prison per racketeering count. In addition, the racketeer must forfeit all ill-gotten gains and interest in any business gained through a pattern of "racketeering activity." RICO also permits a private individual harmed by the actions of such racketeers to file a civil suit; if successful, the individual can collect treble damages (damages in triple the amount of actual/compensatory damages).
    So before people even start mentioning RICO, you have to be able to identify (1) the two acts of racekteering (2) from that list of 35 specific crimes, AND (3)  the ongoing criminal enterprise those acts are related to.   RICO was passed to get people involved in organized crime -- Mafia type stuff.  That's the "criminal enterprise."  

    You'd have to find a LOT LOT LOT more than we're aware of now to even think about a RICO charge against anybody.  

    •  Another lawyer coming to a conclusion before (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dirtandiron, Capt Crunch, CenPhx

      the facts are even close to coming out.  Maybe it will not happen, but you cannot be certain.

      Lets see, possible illegal act: per the story linked above, possibly attempting to strong arm the decisions on a major government project.

      Now predicated acts: bribery, extortion, tampering, intimidating, of witness, obstruction of an investigation, tempering with evidence.

      I say there is enough to at least make Christie and his gang nervous.

      Please don't piss all over my shoes and tell me it is raining. I know better. And you're getting my shoes wet.

      by kaminpdx on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 02:08:35 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's saying virtually nothing. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Pi Li

        First, and most importantly, what's the criminal enterprise serving as a predicate for any RICO charges?  

        That's the first question.  It's an absolute prerequisite for RICO.  RICO is not just a statute for "really bad stuff."  It's supposed to be directed to organized crime, and criminal acts that were committed to further that criminal enterprise, as defined under the statute.  

        Without defining the criminal enterprise AS THE STATUTE DEFINES IT, you don't even get to the next step.  But lets say you could defines As to the predicated acts:

        Bribery - means you are paying money or things of value to someone for closing the bridge.  No evidence of that now.

        Extortion: means you are saying "pay me a million dollars or the bridge stays closed. That would have to have been COMMUNICATED to the person being extorted.  No evidence of that.

        Tampering - that's not one of the 35 predicate acts.  WITNESS tampering -- influencing someone who is testifying as a witness in a criminal proceeding -- is the crime.  Ditto for intimidating a witness.  What witness to a criminal proceeding has been tampered with or intimidated?  No evidence of that yet.

        Obstruction of an investigation: requires evidence that you acted to obstruct a criminal investigation, like you  destroy documents or evidence (say you destroyed pictures that showed who the perpetrator is).  Two questions:  (1) what investigation was obstructed; and (2) what evidence was destroyed?  

        Anyone who has been in the legal arena knows it's irresponsible to throw around allegations of criminality unless you have a factual basis that fits the elements of that particular crime.  

        And as far as I've seen, there are no facts that have come out that fit the elements of RICO.  Criminal law is not a matter of "it's really bad, so we can make the criminal statute fit some way."  Criminal laws are strictly construed -- you have to show a factual basis for each and every element of the crime before you can even charge someone.

        Again, nobody is saying this was anything other than a really bad thing to do. And there may be SOME criminal violation there.

        But you look silly trying to make this a criminal RICO case based on what has come out thus far.

        •  Well, in about 2 minutes of google, you are wrong (0+ / 0-)

          You called into question whether an enterprise could be proven.

          The term “enterprise” includes “any individual, partnership, corporation, association, or other legal entity, and any union or group of individuals associated in fact although not a legal entity.” 18 U.S.C. § 1961(4)

          The term enterprise also includes governmental units such as the offices of governors mayors, state and congressional legislators....

          Here is the law for you, listing the cases in which RICO had been applied:

          See, e.g., United States v. Cianci, 378 F.3d 71, 79-88 (1st Cir. 2004) (an association-in- fact of the office of Mayor of Providence, Rhode Island and other city agencies); United States v. Blandford, 33 F.3d 685, 703 (6th Cir.) (Office of the Representative for House District 14 together with individuals employed therein), cert. denied, 514 U.S. 1095 (1995); United States v. McDade, 28 F.3d 283, 295-96 (3d Cir.) (Congressman McDade and his Congressional offices in Washington, D.C. and in the 10th Congressional District of Pennsylvania), cert. denied, 514 U.S. 1003 (1995); United States v. Freeman, 6 F.3d 586, 596-97 (9th Cir. 1993) (Offices of the 49th Assembly District), cert. denied, 511 U.S. 1077 (1994); United States v. Thompson, 685 F.2d 993 (6th Cir. 1982) (en banc) (applying RICO to the Tennessee Governor's Office, but questioning the wisdom of not defining the enterprise in the indictment as a “group of individuals associated in fact that made use of the office of Governor of the State of Tennessee”), cert. denied, 459 U.S. 1072 (1983); United States v. Long, 651 F.2d 239, 241 (4th Cir.) (office of Senator in the South Carolina legislature), cert. denied, 454 U.S. 896 (1981); United States v. Sisk, 476 F. Supp. 1061, 1062-63 (M.D. Tenn. 1979), aff’d, 629 F.2d 1174 (6th Cir. 1980) (Tennessee Governor’s Office), cert. denied, 449 U.S. 1084 (1981); see also United States v. Ganim, 225 F. Supp. 2d 145, 160-61 (D. Conn. 2002) (an association-in-fact of the office of Mayor of Bridgeport, Connecticut and other individuals); United States v. Gillock, 445 U.S. 360, 373 n.11 (1979) (“[o]f course, even a member of Congress would not be immune under the federal Speech or Debate Clause from prosecution for the acts which form the basis of the . . . [RICO] charges here”). But see United States v. Mandel, 415 F. Supp. 997, 1020-22 (D. Md. 1976), rev’d on other grounds, 591 F.2d 1347 (4th Cir.), aff’d on reh’g, 602 F.2d
          653 (4th Cir. 1979) (en banc) (State of Maryland not an “enterprise” for RICO purposes), cert. denied, 445 U.S. 961 (1980). Mandel, however, has been discredited by all courts that have considered the issue, including the Fourth Circuit. See, e.g., United States v. Warner, 498 F.3d 666, 694-95 (7th Cir. 2007); United States v. Angelilli, 660 F.2d 23, 33 n.10 (2d Cir. 1981), cert. denied, 455 U.S. 945 (1982); United States v. Long, 651 F.2d 239, 241 (4th Cir.), cert. denied, 454 U.S. 896 (1981); United States v. Clark, 646 F.2d 1259, 1261-67 (8th Cir. 1981); United States v. Altomare, 625 F.2d 5, 7 n.7 (4th Cir. 1980); United States v. Baker, 617 F.2d 1060, 1061 (4th Cir. 1980); see also United States v. Powell, No. 87 CR 872-3 (N.D. Ill. February 27, 1988) (City of Chicago proper enterprise for purposes of RICO); State of New York v. O'Hara, 652 F. Supp. 1049 (W.D.N.Y. 1987) (in civil RICO suit, City of Niagara Falls proper enterprise); Commonwealth v. Cianfrani, 600 F. Supp. 1364 (E.D. Pa. 1985) (Pennsylvania Senate).
          I found this online in a federal RICO handbook here

          My point is this: I am no RICO prosecutor and neither are you. Why you are stating as if you know for a fact what the law is with regard to RICO prosecutions, I am not sure, but I think you are not accurate.

          You clearly didn't know the first thing about how enterprises have included governmental agencies.

          You see things; and you say “Why?” But I dream things that never were; and I say “Why not?” --George Bernard Shaw, JFK, RFK

          by CenPhx on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 03:48:58 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  If there was evidence that the government (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            thestructureguy, Pi Li

            -- i.e., Christie -- knew and encouraged this, you might have a point.   For example, when Edwin Edwards was governor of Louisiana, there were repeated allegations that the governor directed things like extorting money from people for the granting of licenses, or took bribes for government favors.  If you had anything indicating those kinds of facts here, you'd have a point.  

            So yes, of course a governmental agency can be an "enterprise" -- but you have to have evidence that the governmental agency -- not one person in that government -- is a criminal enterprise.  And there's no evidence of that at this point.  

            Right now, you have evidence of one person in the governor's office doing something very very very bad, but that is NOT (as far as the facts show now) one of the predicate acts under the RICO statute.  The closest is  18 U.S.C. 1951,  which talks about interfering with commerce, but requires that (to be criminal under that statute) the interference must be by robbery, extortion, or threats of physical violence.  

            But even if there were one of those predicate acts here, there is no evidence that the governor was involved in making the decision to do that very very very very bad thing.  More importantly, one very very very bad thing will not make the governor's office a criminal enterprise for RICO.  There is no evidence that there were repeated violations of the criminal statutes referenced in the RICO statute at the direction of the governor.  

            The facts as we now know them in now way, shape, or form support an allegation by a prosecutor that a governmental agency was a criminal enterprise.

            It's irresponsible to start raising allegations of RICO violations when there are no facts to support that.  

            It may well be wishful thinking  -- somebody is hoping that there are those kinds of things that will be uncovered.

            •  Heavens to Betsy (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              StrayCat
              It's irresponsible to start raising allegations of RICO violations when there are no facts to support that.
              Sez who? Queen coffetalk?

              I think it's wonderful to bring RICO into the conversation.

            •  You also might want to research the definitions (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              StrayCat

              of bribery, which does NOT require an exchange of money. Bribery can be any thing of value. I remember that from crim. law all the way from back in 1989. And re-read what I cite in the body. Fucking with evidence, you know things like making false traffic studies, that cover your ass.

              Maybe as a good lawyer, you don't like RICO, but just because you don't like it, or you consider it draconian doesn't mean it shouldn't be applied in this case if the facts warrant.

              Please don't piss all over my shoes and tell me it is raining. I know better. And you're getting my shoes wet.

              by kaminpdx on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 07:48:49 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  How dare you question coffeetalk (0+ / 0-)

            she is a LAWYER.

            Bow down before her blathering and BS.

            She's used to spewing out BS, waving her "I'm a lawyer" card and then, when somebody calls her on it - and scurrying away.

  •  Republicans are forced to eat a Christie sandwich. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dirtandiron, OleHippieChick

    Rudy Giuliani thinks closing the GWB was a harmless prank. Geesh!

  •  Regarding your update (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pi Li, thestructureguy

    That section I linked you to, which you copied in the update, contains links to each of the federal statutes cited.  

    You can't just look at the summary in that statute.  You have to go to the federal statute cited, and then you have to have a factual basis for EACH AND EVERY element of the underlying federal statute before there is a "predicate act" for RICO.

    Then you need two "predicate acts."  (and no, shutting down bridge lanes for more than one day is not going to be considered more than one act.)  

    Then you need to identify the criminal enterprise that these two different federal crimes were in furtherance of.  

    When you have a specific factual basis for (1) all of the elements of the first underlying crime; (2) all of the elements of the second underlying crime; (3) and the criminal enterprise it was in furtherance of, then you can talk about RICO.

    But really, you look silly bolding words like "bribery" unless you have facts that would show that somebody PAID THESE PEOPLE to shut down the bridge, and that the reason they did it was because someone paid them to.  

    Again, this was a really, really, really bad thing to do.  But it looks really absurd to talk about RICO at this point, where there are no facts out there to support a RICO violation.

  •  Once there is a smoking gun and real charges (0+ / 0-)

    are potential I'll come back and read this diary with glee. Otherwise its just fantasizing about charging.

    If I comply with non-compliance am I complying?

    by thestructureguy on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 05:28:39 PM PST

  •  Thank Goodness for divided government (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    StrayCat

    Earlier this week I was reading pieces from the beltway press opining that while what happened was unfortunate, it was highly unlikely that any laws were actually broken so don't expect any criminal charges to be forthcoming.

    I can't help but wonder if the NJ legislature was entirely in the hands of Republicans and we had a Republican controlled Federal government if any charges would be under serious consideration.

  •  Hammer time. nt (0+ / 0-)
  •  How about this? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OleHippieChick

    The first act of misappropriation of state funds (for political purpose, even) in abusing the "study" funds. The second act of conspiracy to obstruct justice in trying to keep the whole thing under wraps (those "we need to talk first" emails). One happened before the other making it an "ongoing criminal enterprise". You all may know of someone who has been charged with such thin association with the actual laws involved. I'll bet someone does.

    "I dreamed I saw Joe Hill last night..."

    by Killer on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 06:36:24 PM PST

  •  What worries me is... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    salmo, StrayCat

    Christie can just call this whole thing political shenanigans and give out pardons to his entire staff.  It happened here in Kentucky.

    Ernie Fletcher on Monday granted blanket pardons to current and former members of his administration who have been charged in an investigation into alleged improper hiring.

    The move came on the eve of Fletcher's appearance before a grand jury investigating his administration's hiring practices.

    "I cannot allow state government to continue to be consumed by this game of political 'gotcha,' paralyzing our ability to serve you, the people of Kentucky," Fletcher said at the Capitol Rotunda.

    Fletcher said he would appear before the grand jury but would not testify. The grand jury was impaneled in June and has charged nine current and former members of Fletcher's administration with misdemeanor violations of the state's personnel law for allegedly basing hirings on political considerations rather than merit.

    If he is worried that his staff will turn on him, this would be a way for him to make sure they do not.  I am not sure if he can do this with federal charges though.

    "Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not YET sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favour..."

    by Buckeye Nut Schell on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 06:39:32 PM PST

  •  This is getting quite entertaining. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OleHippieChick, StrayCat

    When will the American voters all realize that the Republicans are deeply deeply corrupt and not very nice.

    Democratic politicians all too often aren't saints but for the most part they can't compete with the Republicans.

  •  Gov. Chris Christie & his NJ Taliban (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    StrayCat

    have turned the governor's office and the Port Authority into a racketeering criminal enterprsie.

  •  JFC--normal? (5+ / 0-)

    Reading the upthread comments, all I can think is, normal?  Typical?  Who the hell thinks this kind of thing is normal or typical "political payback"?  What kind of dystopian universe to you people live in where bullshit like this is normal?  

    What's next, are you going to tell me that the Hunger Games seemed "typical" to you too?

    Political payback usually involves stuff like political job appointments or possibly in extreme cases government grant assignments (though that is still highly illegal).  It certainly doesn't involve criminal misuse of a public bridge to bring traffic in a town to a standstill all week thus blocking all public police, fire and school transport.  If that sort of shit is "typical" I'll eat my shorts.  

  •  Just an idle thought but can a (0+ / 0-)

    felon run for President?

    ... like tears in rain

    by bladerunner on Mon Jan 13, 2014 at 05:44:09 AM PST

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