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1. IT’S NOT ABOUT POLITICS, IT’S THE MONEY. This is New Jersey. Home of Tony Soprano. It’s always about the money. Seriously. The bridge closing was not payback for Ft. Lee’s mayor (supposedly for not endorsing Christie’s run for governor). That this silliness has become the conventional wisdom explanation means that it is REALLY a distraction (think “cover”) from the actual reason. Christie even trekked up to Ft. Lee to sell it. It makes it out to be a petty political cat fight rather than what it’s really about. The money.  As this onion is unpeeled, stay alert and follow the money. And, oh yeah, look for the money.

2. FORGET THE PRESS CONFERENCE.  Christie’s 2-hour (or whatever it was) press conference had all the authenticity of a Potemkin Village. Here’s how it works, boys and girls: If you want to be a successful NJ (or elsewhere) political reporter, you need access. Especially in NJ to the governor and his drones. And you don’t get that access if you don’t play the game. Capiche? Believe me all the reporters selected for his no-holds-barred let-it-all-hang-out press conference did. Which explains the feather pillow intensity of their  questioning and how they all thought he did a marvelous job.

3. SOMEBODY WILL TALK. Omertà no longer works in the modern world. Just as Sammy the Bull gave up the Teflon Don, some prison-terrified drone is going to give up the real story on this. The rule-of-thumb in conspiracies is the first one to turn gets the best deal from the prosecutor. My money’s on David Wildstein from the Port Authority (whose lawyer has already said he’ll deal for immunity) and who could  turn out to be the Abe Reles of this whole deal.

4, CHRIS CHRISTIE’S IS IN REAL DANGER. And I don ’t mean his outsize political ambitions. Christie (an experienced former Federal prosecutor in corruption cases) has made a big point that he did not know anything prior to Wednesday January 8, when he found out and fired his chief of staff. The reason for this is to distance himself from any actual knowledge or involvement. If he didn’t know, he can’t be held responsible. But if he did know (hey, he called the NY Governor and asked him to get the Port Authority guys to lay off the story!), it could be very, very bad. See SOMEBODY WILL TALK, supra.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Wildstein committed multiple felonies (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, ZappoDave, Sunspots

    word is HE was the one actually "working the cones"

    unless he was ORDERED to by a higher up, then he has immunity. He must know what he did was illegal and will not go down by himself.

    Either he goes down and becomes the target of all the suits or he names names for a pass.

    Who had the authority to close lanes and who had the authority to tell him to do it?

    "The poor can never be made to suffer enough." Jimmy Breslin

    by merrywidow on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 12:00:54 PM PST

    •  Keep your eye on Wildstein (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      chicago minx, Sunspots, kyril, True North

      From what I can find out he appears to be a pretty smart guy (if an amoral one) with some serious money. Which means he's smart enough to get the best legal talent he can afford early on. He also appears to be a total snake with no loyalty to anyone but himself.

      My guess would be that his well-compensated lawyers are trying even now to work out deals with the various possible prosecutors (Fed, NJ, NY) for complete immunity. I threw in the Abe Reles comment because I suspect Wildstein knows a LOT and doesn't care who he takes down if it gets him off the hook.

    •  I'm not convinced he did... (0+ / 0-)

      because it appears that he had the legal authority to order the change in traffic configuration as a 'test'.

      He gave his direction to the GM of the bridge - Robert Durando, and while some people in the Traffic Engineering department - Jose Rivera, Chief Traffic Engineer, for one - questioned it, they did so from the angle of 'is this wise?' not 'is this legal?'.

      Allocation of resources, including traffic lanes, was an on-going bone of contention between NY & NJ within the PANYNJ (not just on the GWB), so 'testing' different configurations was a legitimate course of action.

      I think Wildstein would have gotten away with it if he had just gone along with Rivera' suggestion of testing a 2-lane configuration. Having an EZ-Pass lane as well as a cash lane would have made the point 'we can mess with you' that seems to have been the purpose of all 3 of the likely scenarios.

      Cheers.

      Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain. Friedrich Schiller

      by databob on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 02:38:42 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Conservatives are authoritarian types (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ZappoDave, chicago minx, HiKa

    bent to follow AUTHORITY.  (see Altemeyer, Bob; 2006).

    (Ironic that it is in the domain of Port Authority.  ha ha)

    These henchmen of Crispy certainly were following his ORDERS.  Heil, heil.  

    Who will sing?  Great diary.

  •  What's funny to me .. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greenbell, Sunspots, kyril, ahumbleopinion

    well sorta funny -- is that Gov. Christie couldn't have picked a scheme that would have involved more law enforcement agencies, jurisdictions and levels of authority.

    The Port Authority -  Which is also a Law Enforcement agency. Also, the Port Authority was also hit in the towers on 911, to corrupt the Port Authority so much as to make them participate in this fiasco on the anniversary of 911 - If this was the other way around and it was a Dem? OMG.

    The State of NJ

    The State of NY -  Won't they have their own investigation?

    The FBI

    Commerce Committee

    Local Law Enforcement and communities.

    Homeland Security - potentially

  •  When the investigation starts giving immunity (6+ / 0-)

    to the right people, it will be all over for the gov. Such strong denial means no slip ups whatsoever. That is as unlikely as his story.

    Never promote men who seek after a state-established religion; it is spiritual tyranny--the worst of despotism. It is turnpiking the way to heaven by human law, in order to establish ministerial gates to collect toll. John Leland

    by J Edward on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 12:52:22 PM PST

  •  So far, they've set Bridge Kelley up as the (5+ / 0-)

    firewall, (which is  problematic since there's the email from
    Foye? to Baroni which was forwarded to CC's new COS.)

    They're trying to keep Christie's current COS out of it. I think when we start to get info about him things will really heat up.

    You can't make this stuff up.

    by David54 on Sun Jan 12, 2014 at 01:11:14 PM PST

    •  Remember Kevin O'Dowd is on tap to become AG (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      David54, HiKa

      so I'm watching what happens with the (now postponed) confirmation hearings. He's the channel-or-barrier between Kelly and Christie. In order to uphold the Governor's denials, either O'Dowd was fully informed and he "neglected" to tell Christie; or Kelly was completely rogue and her boss had absolutely no idea, and has no idea why Wildstein took orders from her. Neither one will really wash.

      I suspect that he is as thoroughly lawyered up as Wildstein by now, and that his nomination to AG will be withdrawn shortly, and he too will refuse to testify without a grant of immunity or a plea deal.

  •  Curious what's the line on the US Attorney? (0+ / 0-)

    Is he sufficiently independent, competent, and persistent to be in charge of the investigation? Or is he one of the good ole' boys, and we should be pressing Holder to appoint a Special Prosecutor from outside NJ?

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