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New Jersey Governor Chris Christie looks on while giving his State of the State address in the assembly chamber in Trenton, New Jersey, January 8, 2013. Christie renewed his calls to the U.S. Congress on Tuesday to quickly pass the full $60.4 billion Supe
David Wildstein, the former Port Authority official and Chris Christie appointee who was ordered by Christie's former deputy chief of staff to create "traffic problems in Fort Lee," says he'll talk — but only in exchange for immunity from prosecution. As the AP points out, Wildstein has already played a central role in exposing the scandal:
David Wildstein, whom Christie appointed to a position in the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, has already supplied a legislative committee with the most damning documents in the case so far, including an email from a Christie aide saying it was "time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee," a sign that the lane-closing plot was hatched by Christie's aides as a political vendetta.

Wildstein's lawyer Alan Zegas told The Associated Press on Friday that there has not been any offer of immunity from the U.S. Attorney's Office, which is reviewing the matter. "If he has immunity from the relevant entities, he'll talk," Zegas said.

In related news, subpoenas were issued to 20 individuals and groups by New Jersey legislators investigating the scandal and the Christie administration hired a high-priced legal team to guide its investigation response. Despite announcing the hiring, the Christie administration was quite opaque about exactly what the hiring will mean — and who will pay for it.
The firm will "review best practices for office operations and information flow, and assist with document retention and production," the administration said in a three-paragraph statement.

Christie spokesman Colin Reed would not say who is paying for the special counsel or whether the retention of the law firm means Christie plans to conduct a more vigorous internal investigation than first announced.

Between Christie's weak prior efforts at investigating what happened and the refusal of his administration to say what it plans to do now, it's probably fair to assume these new lawyers see their job as protecting Christie, not helping the public get to the bottom of what actually happened and why. Those remain the big questions, and it's hard to believe Christie's cooperation wouldn't help answer them.

12:20 PM PT: The full list of subpoena targets isn't yet known, but we do now know that Christie's office as a whole is one of them.

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Comment Preferences

  •  You want immunity? (13+ / 0-)

    OK, here's your flu shot. Now get back in your cell.

    •  Exactly! (5+ / 0-)

      Work up a nice charge sheet, then see what kind of deal he's willing to cut--nothing less than a plea bargain that include some clinker time for this jackass.

    •  I disagree... (20+ / 0-)

      This is a case of political thuggery at the highest levels.  Punishing this relatively low level player would serve no real purpose since he was just doing what he was told.  Yes, this was corruption but I think it is far more beneficial to the people of New Jersey and the people of the USA to know about the thuggery in the highest levels of the Christie administration.  

      Frankly, I think the evidence against Christie is pretty damning already, but since he is still doing quite well in the polls it seems to me that it will take a true smoking gun to enlighten the people of NJ.

      Christie is charming and charismatic to many people and the last time the Republican party had a charming charismatic leader they decimated the American middle class.  (Ronald Reagan)

      Again, this case is about Christie and also about the modern Republican party.  It is not about Wildstein.

      •  Hard to believe basic common sense isn't (9+ / 0-)

        kicking in for people and they don't realize that something like this just Would Not Happen if it hadn't been cleared at the highest levels.  People believe what they want to believe, though, and a lot of people want to believe Christie isn't a lying, vindictive sack of shit, I guess.

      •  Ya know.... (13+ / 0-)
        Christie is charming and charismatic to many people....
        Chris Christie and Ronald Reagan....charming and charismatic????  Not to me. And, in retrospect, not to a whole lotta people.
        I find Christie reprehensible....always did, waaaaaaay before this bridge-gate thing.  He is so definitely the complete opposite of what charming and charismatic mean to me.  Bombastic, liar, blowhard, SOB, POS, jackass, mean-spirited, bully, manipulative, greedy....these are the words that come to mind when I think of Christie.
        And Reagan?  There aren't polite words to describe him.  Oh, wait, third rate actor, who reached his zenith hosting 'Death Valley Days'.

        I think, therefore I am........................... Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose....AKA Engine Nighthawk - don't even ask!

        by Lilyvt on Fri Jan 17, 2014 at 10:13:43 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  No. Reagan was charming and affable and funny.... (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          akovia, Aunt Pat, JerryNA, sethtriggs, HCKAD

          .....and ruinous to the nation. That's the point the commentor is making. Christie has NONE of the charm of Reagan, but he does have something people like better these days: shock value. He appears to call a spade a spade (he isn't ACTUALLY doing that -- he just appears to be doing that by talking like a guy standing around a BBQ all the time).

          I've learned that it is VERY important to give the devil his due. Otherwise, he will just take it and more. Reagan was beloved.  Deal with it. Christie WAS JUST REELECTED in a blue state. He is charming (or at least entertaining) someone.

          If you hate government, don't run for office in that government.

          by Bensdad on Fri Jan 17, 2014 at 10:28:24 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I find him charming and charismatic (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Louise, JerryNA, sethtriggs

            He is a vindictive, ruthless bully.  But he is also charismatic and immensely politically skilled.

            •  "Chris Christie" is a marketing tool (6+ / 0-)

              His public persona was probably developed by his chief political strategist through focus groups of disaffected New Jersey voters. The real man is indeed a vindictive bully. See Chris Hedges' and Greg Palast's work.

              There are videos and recorded tapes of the real Christie, who emerges in meeting with people like the Kochs and in his member-only "Town Halls." That's when the actual Christie drops the facade.

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

              by Louise on Fri Jan 17, 2014 at 10:59:50 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Hmmmm.... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              I find him charming and charismatic
              I don't.
              I find him thoroughly repugnant.
              He IS politically skilled, but he is also a mean-spirited, vindictive, bullying, ruthless thug.

              I think, therefore I am........................... Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose....AKA Engine Nighthawk - don't even ask!

              by Lilyvt on Fri Jan 17, 2014 at 11:26:04 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I couldn't stand Reagan (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                But "charisma" is by majority vote. Many many people found Reagan likeable. Therefore, I must conclude he was likeable, even though I hated him.

                •  Perhaps.... (0+ / 0-)

                  But, just because a lot of people I don't know find someone I detested, likeable, doesn't necessarily mean that person IS likeable.  Just means a lot of people think differently.
                  Some sociopaths are found likeable, doesn't mean they are.  Just means they fooled a lot of people.

                  I think, therefore I am........................... Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose....AKA Engine Nighthawk - don't even ask!

                  by Lilyvt on Fri Jan 17, 2014 at 12:48:59 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

          •  Ummmm.... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Charming, affable, funny????  Reagan?  Maybe in some circles.  Reagan was a befuddled old man who was manipulated by master craftsmen to do their will. Beloved?  Perhaps to old goppers who fondly recall the grand good ol' halcyon Iran Contra power days of the 80's.  Before we realized their policies brought ruination.
            Christie is a thug.  Always was, always will be.  He was just re-elected, but it is NJ and, as has just been shown with this bridge-gate thing, his henchmen will do extreme things.  In addition, Barbara Buono was all but dis-owned by the state's dems.
            Charming, affable, funny, beloved, entertaining pols are just words which depends on your perspective.  They are none of these if your life has been ruined by their lethal, disastrous governments.

            I think, therefore I am........................... Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose....AKA Engine Nighthawk - don't even ask!

            by Lilyvt on Fri Jan 17, 2014 at 11:20:55 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Okay. Fine. (0+ / 0-)

              Don't give the devil his due and see what happens: he gets elected. Complacency and failing to see what others like about a thug or a criminal or a B-grade actor frontman is what leads to these people getting elected.

              If you hate government, don't run for office in that government.

              by Bensdad on Fri Jan 17, 2014 at 01:13:41 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Hmmmm.... (0+ / 0-)

                NOT giving the devil his due doesn't get a candidate elected.
                Neither does recognizing that a carefully crafted (albeit totally false) image to make a disagreeable, bullying, decrepit candidate appear likable to many voters.
                Knowing that these candidates are spending huge amounts of money to make people like them while also knowing these people are dangerous (some even say sociopaths) and shouldn't be allowed anywhere near governance, doesn't get them elected.  Folks who always vote the straight party ticket or willfully ignorant folks or willfully stupid folks or just plain low-information folks with a bias against the other candidate and probably not much time on their hands to study the candidates rationally (because they're working 2/3/4 jobs to keep their heads above water) as well as 24/7 marketing, marketing, marketing and a huge media blitz towards folks fears and prejudices is what get these people elected.  Follow the money.
                We knew what these thugs, criminals or the Z-grade actor were capable of, history taught us that.  We also knew full well what lengths they went to to make people like them.  We tried like hell to get people to vote, to get people interested, to get people involved.  There was a torrent of money spent to present these candidates as something they weren't.  Focus groups went into overdrive finding out what people wanted/liked/needed and then the thug, criminal and Z-grade actor were groomed to seem to be all these things to a frightened and gullible electorate.  That's what got them elected.  Follow the money.
                Sometimes giving the devil his due is exactly what the devil wants, makes it that much easier to twist it to mean something quite different than what had been originally intended.

                I think, therefore I am........................... Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose....AKA Engine Nighthawk - don't even ask!

                by Lilyvt on Sat Jan 18, 2014 at 06:29:37 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

        •  "Chris Christie" is a marketing tool (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          kaminpdx, a2nite, ahumbleopinion

          His chief strategist probably ran focus groups to find out what voters most wanted in their politicians. "Chris Christie" is designed to reflect those qualities. Christie said it himself in his press conference: his entire career has been "spent building a reputation for fairness and honesty and blunt talk."

          His speeches are also focus-grouped.  "Christie" is designed to take advantage of the fact that there is a winning majority of voters in the center of the polls: Independents, Liberal Republicans, and Conservative Democrats. It comes to about 65%. You should note that he won his landslide reflection by about that percentage.

          I'll say one thing for him. Like Reagan, he is a consummate actor.

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

          by Louise on Fri Jan 17, 2014 at 10:48:33 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  If you don't think Reagan had charm, you're lying (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JerryNA, Eyesbright

          to yourself.

          The Devil is always charming.

          "See? I'm not a racist! I have a black friend!"

          by TheHalfrican on Fri Jan 17, 2014 at 11:31:54 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  you r right, let this guy go if (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Aunt Pat, indie17

        he can give up information that can help clean out the whole rat nest.

        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 Fri Jan 17, 2014 at 10:25:27 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  THANK YOU. It's like a drug investigation. FLIP EM (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Haven't any of ya'll seen The Wire? :p

        Let's just hope Christie doesn't get the Aryan Brotherhood to shank him in the chow line first.

        "See? I'm not a racist! I have a black friend!"

        by TheHalfrican on Fri Jan 17, 2014 at 11:30:49 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  well, Dean requested immunity, (0+ / 0-)

        didn't get it, and spilled everything anyway, if I'm not mistaken.  Didn't he give up Nixon and Mitchell without having immunity?

        "The purpose of education is not to validate ignorance, but to overcome it" - Dr. Lawrence Krauss

        by AlyoshaKaramazov on Fri Jan 17, 2014 at 12:10:39 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  This weekend's meeting with the GOP Big $$$ (11+ / 0-)

    Somebody is going to be spoken to and it's obvious Christie is not used to be spoken to. And I'm sure the GOP Big $$$ will not tolerate being "Spoken to" by Christie..

    I want 1 less Tiny Coffin, Why Don't You? Support The President's Gun Violence Plan.

    by JML9999 on Fri Jan 17, 2014 at 09:44:21 AM PST

  •  Et tu, Wildstein? (6+ / 0-)

    Putrid is my favorite stage of decay. Objects in this stage still has some identifiable features, and familiarity makes things alright.

    by glb3 on Fri Jan 17, 2014 at 09:45:12 AM PST

  •  Wildstein to Christie: Know me now? (31+ / 0-)

    "Nice job you've got their, governor.  Be a shame if anything were to happen to it."

  •  This is always good news for Republicans... (14+ / 0-)

    because Benghazi.

    "First, we make a commonwealth of our family. Then, we make a commonwealth of families. Then, we make of ourselves a political commonwealth. We engage in the ongoing process of self-government which, first and foremost, is a creative act." - C. Pierce

    by Superskepticalman on Fri Jan 17, 2014 at 09:45:33 AM PST

    •  You laugh. (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ColoTim, T100R, Aquarius40, Aunt Pat, Danali

      Many are saying Christie's woes are just a distraction from Benghazi!!!

      Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal. - Martin Luther King, Jr.

      by Gentle Giant on Fri Jan 17, 2014 at 09:51:36 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  And.... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Eyesbright, indie17
      This is always good news for Republicans...because Benghazi.
      Don't forget the IRS.  Or the Muslim president and his secret agenda, or where he was/wasn't born (get The Donald right on that), or socialism, or privatizing anything/everything, or shutting down the government for nothing, or dangling on the fiscal cliff, or or or....
      And then don't forget the old chestnut....Obamacare, I'm sure the goppers can rally for yet another vote against it.
      Isn't it time to get rid of these gopper benchwarmers and vote some folks in who will actually DO something FOR the American people for a change.

      I think, therefore I am........................... Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose....AKA Engine Nighthawk - don't even ask!

      by Lilyvt on Fri Jan 17, 2014 at 10:24:37 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  plea-bargaining: the new get-out-of-jail card (6+ / 0-)

    (almost), and maybe the last refuge for lemon-sucking whistle blowers

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013

    by annieli on Fri Jan 17, 2014 at 09:46:00 AM PST

  •  I predicted complete stonewall, all take the (5+ / 0-)

    5th and Christie finds no investigation to be "appropriate" and Wildstien will say HE invented the whole thing

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

    by merrywidow on Fri Jan 17, 2014 at 09:46:48 AM PST

    •  The emails speak differently (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      hyperstation, RichM, JerryNA, Eyesbright

      There's enough revealed already for charges to be filed, though IANAL, and so I hope people don't skate freely on this.  Maybe there needs to be digging, but there will be chinks in the armor/wall that will be exploitable.

    •  I don't think the new special prosecutor... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Would allow that to happen.  Usually immunity is granted AFTER the party tells the prosecution what s/he has.

      “Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.” - John Steinbeck

      by RichM on Fri Jan 17, 2014 at 10:06:40 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Boehner: Move along...nothing to see here. (4+ / 0-)
  •  Guaranteed way he'll get it... (4+ / 0-)

    Tells Rethugs he has information on Benghazi.


    I don't blame Christians. I blame Stupid. Which sadly is a much more popular religion these days.

    by detroitmechworks on Fri Jan 17, 2014 at 09:48:22 AM PST

  •  He said yesterday He was going to spend (17+ / 0-)

    "The rest of his life in NJ"  well they do have Federal Prisons in NJ

    I want 1 less Tiny Coffin, Why Don't You? Support The President's Gun Violence Plan.

    by JML9999 on Fri Jan 17, 2014 at 09:48:42 AM PST

  •  No immunity, put him on the stand. (5+ / 0-)

    If he had come forward at the time, that would be one thing, but once they are caught, too late.

    If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

    by CwV on Fri Jan 17, 2014 at 09:48:54 AM PST

      •  That was an investigation by a committe that (6+ / 0-)

        couldn't charge him with a crime.  His use of the Fifth earned him a referral to the county prosecutor to determine if charges would be filed.  I seriously hope they do file charges, and ratchet them up until he breaks.

        •  During committee hearings, he was charged with (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ColoTim, Capt Crunch

          contempt of court for his repeated attempts to cite his Fifth Amendment rights after being specifically told that the Fifth does not apply in a committee hearing.  His lawyer was sitting right next to him and, I strongly suspect, is the one who advised him to do it anyway.

          I haven't heard anything further about that contempt citation, however.

          They don't win until we quit fighting!

          by Eyesbright on Fri Jan 17, 2014 at 01:15:02 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  If it goes to a criminal grand jury and he (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Palafox, CwV, TooFolkGR, a2nite

        asserts the Fifth and refuses to testify, they can (most likely) force immunity on him if they feel his testimony is necessary to convict someone higher up. Then he will either testify or go to jail. If he testifies and lies, he runs a real risk of perjury.

        The Republican motto: "There's been a lot of progress in this country over the last 75 years, and we've been against all of it."

        by Hillbilly Dem on Fri Jan 17, 2014 at 10:02:05 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  He wouldn't even say who he works for! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Based on Wildstein's phony patronage job title, I guess he would have had to incriminate himself if he were to honestly admit that he actually works for the Christie administation.

        On the other hand, it's starting to look like the big shot "class president and athlete" may eventually be brought down by the invisible nobody who wasn't worth Christie's time in high school!

        And if Kornacki's characterization of Wildstein is correct (and he would know), I wouldn't be surprised if this whole thing wasn't carefully staged to bring Christie down while getting immunity and then shopping for a book deal!

        Hell, Wildstein's probably been planning something like this since the days when Christie was the big man on campus who didn't know what Wildstein was up to.

        I can dream anyway.

        •  he refused to answer that question because (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Pi Li, T100R, JerryNA, VClib

          when you plead the 5th, if you answer anything on the topic, you may waive your right to rely on the 5th Amendment.  So, pretty much everyone who takes the 5th Amendment refuses to answer all questions, no matter how  harmless they may seem.  

          •  I thought one plead the fifth (0+ / 0-)

            to keep from saying something that may come back to incriminate themselves.  I guess that's what Wildstein is doing because he played a big role using a job he basically got because he was "a good friend of the Governor."

            "Washington, DC: Where Corruption is Rewarded, and Ethical Merit is DESPISED.

            by The Truth on Fri Jan 17, 2014 at 11:24:23 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Not exactly. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              You don't plead the Fifth on a question by question basis.  I you do that, you may waive any rights to plead the Fifth at all.  

              That's to prevent people from picking and choosing -- "I like this question, so I'll answer it, but I don't like that one, so I'll plead the Fifth."  

              When you plead the Fifth, it has to be on a "topic" kind of basis.  You can't answer any questions regarding the area where you want to take the Fifth, or you risk waiver.  

          •  He couldn't plead the fifth (0+ / 0-)

            as was pointed out to him and his lawyer in the hearing.
            Did you watch the hearing? It was right there for all to see.

            So he resorted to simply not answering the questions. That's not invoking the fifth amendment.

            Additionally, he refused to even confirm that he worked at the Port Authority. Would you call that routine? It's not.

            In fact most of the documents they were referring to in the hearing came from Wildstein.

    •  You can't "put him on the stand." (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Pi Li, VClib

      He'll be able to use the Fifth Amendment to avoid that.  

    •  CwV - no one ever has to be on the "stand" (0+ / 0-)

      That's what the Fifth Amendment is all about. Anyone can remain silent forever unless they receive immunity acceptable to them and counsel.

      "let's talk about that"

      by VClib on Fri Jan 17, 2014 at 03:54:48 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Anyone who knows what's what (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Karen from Maui, Palafox, royce

    would want immunity when discussing this, immunity from prosecution as well as immunity from being attacked by GOP thugs. Good luck with that second one.

    •  Yeah.... (0+ / 0-) well as immunity from being attacked by GOP thugs.
      Well, there's always the witness protection program....and if Wildstein is as forgettable as Christie made him out to be, he should fit in quite well.

      I think, therefore I am........................... Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose....AKA Engine Nighthawk - don't even ask!

      by Lilyvt on Fri Jan 17, 2014 at 10:40:50 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Fuck That Noise (5+ / 0-)

    If you take that deal at face value, he simply says: "All I know is I took my orders from Bridget Kelly."

    Any deal he gets offered needs to promise the frying of more and bigger fish.

  •  Ancient Chinese proverb (9+ / 0-)


    When a big tree falls, the monkeys scatter.

  •  I'd say immunity IF it's useful in convicting (8+ / 0-)

    Christie.  Otherwise, send him off to jail for his illegal acts.

  •  I don't think they need to give (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Palafox, Danali

    him immunity.  There are enough other people that were in on it and quite frankly I want this guy to fry just as much as I want Christie to.  Sleaze.  

    •  It's a matter of prosecution strategy (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      METAL TREK, Danali, JerryNA

      You need at least one kingpin to turn states evidence.  This doesn't happen from repentance, it happens because the pigeon wants to avoid jail time.  They're using the playbook for prosecuting organized crime, which IMO is the right decision.

      The interesting part will be if he has to go into witness protection afterward.

  •  *munch munch munch munch* (10+ / 0-)






    To get back my youth I would do anything in the world, except take exercise, get up early, or be respectable. - Oscar Wilde

    by Fordmandalay on Fri Jan 17, 2014 at 09:55:56 AM PST

  •  Do you think... (4+ / 0-)

    Christie's whole 'I was a Jock, President and an extremely popular dreamboat - Wildstein, not so much' routine is sticking in Wildstein's craw?  I don't think Christie can help himself, but he should really weigh his words more carefully.

    “Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.” - John Steinbeck

    by RichM on Fri Jan 17, 2014 at 10:03:57 AM PST

  •  Time to indict his ass (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GrindtheHills, Palafox, Vetwife

    If he faces more than 20 years in a federal prison, he might decide to talk in exchange for a plea bargain.

    To hell with giving the bastard immunity, though.

    Libertarianism is just Fascism with a facelift. Scratch the surface of Libertarianism and you will find the notion that corporations should rule supreme, just as it was with Fascism..

    by Walt starr on Fri Jan 17, 2014 at 10:07:38 AM PST

  •  I still think (10+ / 0-)

    Christie resigns sooner rather than later. Also I simply can't wait to see Weinberg question Samson, she seems to have a visceral hatred for him and indeed the entire all-male Port Authority. I love it that the Assembly and the press is all like "Well Samson is a huge figure and we have to respect him blah blah blah" and Weinberg is like "he's a big jerk and I have no respect for him or his cronies."

    •  amen! that shit of he is a big (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      guy and must be treated with respect is partly how the big guys get away with shit.

      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 Fri Jan 17, 2014 at 10:39:56 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Even if he resigns, the criminal investigations (0+ / 0-)

      Would continue because crimes have been committed, and with an ego and temperament like his, he's going to dig in like an Alabama tick and force them to remove him. Resignation gains him nothing.

      To get back my youth I would do anything in the world, except take exercise, get up early, or be respectable. - Oscar Wilde

      by Fordmandalay on Fri Jan 17, 2014 at 12:41:47 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Fuck him. Send him to prison for 10 (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    years, then in 18 months ask him if he wants to testify to reduce his sentence.

  •  Wildstein wants the John Dean part in this "gate" (7+ / 0-)

    John Dean saw that was being set up to take the fall for Watergate. Instead, he made a deal and began the process of taking Nixon down. Out of that whole crew, he was the only one to get out intact, ending up as a kind of elder statesman and go-to guy for comment on any Gate du Jour.

    Now Wildstein is in the crosshairs.  Steve Kornacki, who worked for him for awhile, says that Wildstein was the sharpest one in the Christie gang, that he thinks his moves out far in advance and usually gets them right.

  •  Now that his staff is singing, it's time for (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Palafox, KayCeSF, Bensdad, zestyann, manyamile

    The New Christie Minstrels!

    These Boots Were Made for Walking
    (well, that's one way to get through traffic)

    skipping over damaged area

    by Says Who on Fri Jan 17, 2014 at 10:14:28 AM PST

  •  What the hell is the attorney's office waiting for (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Palafox, RobertInWisconsin, indie17

    Draw up the necessary and prudent conditions, prepare the charges, and get the fucking deal done. It's time for somebody to start singing. The longer they wait, the more time Christie & Co. have to exert pressure on Wildstein to keep his mouth shut.

    •  And on the not unreasonable assumption (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      zestyann, indie17

      that NJ politics are mobbed up, I'd be a bit worried about the star witness having an "accident".    Ya know, we're mostly looking at the superficial politics here; but deep down, this scandal has the potential to cost somebody huge $$$ through contracts lost, developments not approved, bribery not received.  Money in amounts worth killing for in some circles.

      Just from what we already know, that's clearly a subtext to even this little traffic jam stunt; so multiply that statewide, and a lot of pockets will be lighter if the machinery is dismantled.  Not only will there be sacrificial lambs on the legal side; but also sacrificial lambs on the illegal side.  While we're thinking who's going to take the plea; the machine is figuring who's going to take the fall.

      You can't spell CRAZY without R-AZ.

      by rb608 on Fri Jan 17, 2014 at 11:35:37 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Only the "little people" serve jail time. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bensdad, royce, JerryNA

    Ask Rumsfeld, Tom DeLay, Bush's vote cagers, Cheney . . .

    The elite "big people" are no longer frog-marched to the slammer like ordinary citizens. Somehow they're able to get away without talking. I wonder how that works.

    "Life is short, but long enough to get what's coming to you." --John Alton

    by Palafox on Fri Jan 17, 2014 at 10:18:10 AM PST

  •  Pretty standard, and to be expected. (8+ / 0-)

    Any attorney worth his salt would never let his client talk without immunity.  If there's any possibility that he may be charged with a crime -- even if he thinks he ultimately would not be convicted -- he'd never talk.  He'd plead the 5th.  

    When you've got an investigation going on, no attorney is going to let his client talk unless one of two things happens:  (1) he gets assurances that his client is not a target or potential target (pretty impossible here), or (2) he gets immunity in exchange for his testimony.

    Now, as I understand it (I don't do much criminal law), his attorneys CAN tell the prosecution what he MIGHT be able to tell them (in general terms) if they gave him immunity.  So, if his attorney says, "he can tell you about Christie's involvement" if you give him immunity, they'll give him immunity in a second.  If he has nothing to spill on Christie, and he's the primary target, then they have nothing to gain by giving him immunity.

    That's my understanding as to how things work.  I'll defer to criminal defense attorneys on more specifics as to how they would handle it if they were representing him.  

    •  This is essentially correct (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      coffeetalk, JerryNA, Eyesbright, VClib

      First of all, you're right in that Wildstein would want immunity no matter what...whether he thinks he's committed a crime or not.  A criminal defence attorney would be guilty of malpractice is she didn't seek immunity, especially in a situation like this where there are multiple, parallel investigations going on with the possibility of criminal charges. It should not necessarily be interpreted as Wildstein being able or wiling to testify to some vast conspiracy (though that's also possible).

      In any case, what will happen in Wildstein's lawyers will make a proffer of immunity, in which they will give the prosecutors a kind of informal "sneak preview" of what Wildstein would testify to, or what kind of information he'd provide, in exchange for immunity. If the prosecutor feels it's worth it, then they'll enter into a formal agreement and either grant full or some kind of limited immunity.

      Of course, if the government offers immunity, and Wildstein doesn't deliver the goods, the agreement can be voided. Similarly, there have been occasions where the government has heard the informal proffer, decides to pass on immunity, and tried to use the information gleaned in the informal proffer against the D.  It can certainly give them a tactical advantage against the D in that they have info for "free" they wouldn't have had otherwise. Information gleaned in informal proffers can also often be used for impeachment purposes. In short, it can be a dangerous game.

      Again, at this point Wildstein seeking immunity shouldn't be interpreted as much more than a lawyer doing her job.

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

      by Pi Li on Fri Jan 17, 2014 at 10:54:05 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks. You were able to be more specific than (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Pi Li

        I was.  I had a general sense of how things work.  

      •  Multiple authorities involved (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Pi Li, VClib

        From what I've heard, another major factor in the immunity question is that the guy wants (and needs, from his point of view) a grant of immunity from each potential charging authority - federal, state, county, city, any agencies involved, you name it (I don't know how many are potentially involved).  That's going to make this much, much more complicated.  Imagine trying to get each of those, including all the lawyers and pols involved, to agree on everything.

        Getting immunity from only the feds, for example, won't help him at all if the state wants to prosecute him.

        They don't win until we quit fighting!

        by Eyesbright on Fri Jan 17, 2014 at 01:42:49 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  True (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Eyesbright, VClib

          But that's more of a problem for the Federal and State authorities than for him, actually. Because he's not going to make a deal with anyone unless he's sure he has complete immunity from prosecution. His lawyer certainly not going to have him give information to the State only to turn around and have the Feds use it against him (and vice-versa).

          In any event, if he or anyone is charged with a serious crime in relation to this (and I'm not convinced yet that's a foregone conclusion), the lawyers will sort all that out. As you point out, it's the Pols and their investigations could make this more complicated, because they have their own agenda.

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

          by Pi Li on Fri Jan 17, 2014 at 02:03:04 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Christie has the taxpayers paying for his.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    viral defense. He brought in a whole team to "investigate", meaning to defend his ass from prosecution. I mean, how much investigating does it take for him to know he is a vindictive asshole who would shut bridge lanes just to screw over a Democrat or two that didn't play ball?

    If you hate government, don't run for office in that government.

    by Bensdad on Fri Jan 17, 2014 at 10:23:52 AM PST

    •  Note, too, how this special lawyer's duties are (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      formally described.  Example:  "reviewing office procedures."  The point, of course, is to phrase it such that the taxpayer's are on the hook to pay for that lawyer, even though to any impartial observer it's blatantly obvious that the lawyer is specifically there to try to keep Christie out of jail, etc.

      In a statement, the governor’s office said that, Gibson Dunn, as “part of the review process,” will “review best practices for office operations and information flow, and assist with document retention and production.”
      That phrase "document retention" caught my attention because it reeks of finding ways to hide e-mails, etc.

      They don't win until we quit fighting!

      by Eyesbright on Fri Jan 17, 2014 at 01:51:47 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Yeah, this is pretty much the way (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    stevemb, indie17

    I expected it to play out. This is the time honored way to get sworn testimony in these sorts of corruption cases. And it actually puts tremendous pressure on the baddies, because the prosecution won't grant immunity to everyone, and those without immunity will be toast once the ones with immunity start singing. This typically leads to the delightful scene of these guys throwing each other under the bus as they scramble to be in the "with immunity" group.

  •  He's the one person who should NOT get immunity (0+ / 0-)

    Wildstein really looks like he's at the center of everything, and if you let him off the hook the likelihood of severe punishment for these actions is greatly reduced.

    I'd rather have people who are only more remotely involved get immunity to rat out the rest.

  •  Organized crime? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I'd like to know more about that.

    The Christie administration has retained Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP as outside counsel in a move the administration hopes "will bring an outside, third party perspective to the situation."

    Randy Mastro, a former assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, will head the legal team.

    Mastro has experience in organized crime cases and led the federal racketeering lawsuit that forced the International Brotherhood of Teamsters to hold democratic elections and to undergo court supervision. Mastro also is a former deputy mayor of New York.
    Norcross’s late father, George Norcross Jr., served as president of the AFL-CIO unions in South Jersey.
    Father and son couldn't be more different.
    Norcross was investigated and recorded discussing his influence with then New Jersey governor James E. McGreevey and then United States Senator Jon S. Corzine. Chris Christie, as a U.S. prosecutor, accused attorneys of mishandling the investigation.
    At what point does a political machine and political patronage cross the line into the realm of organized crime?

    I'm a Vietnam Era vet. I'm also an Erma Bombeck Era vet. When cussing me out and calling me names please indicate which vet you would like to respond to your world changing thoughts.

    by Just Bob on Fri Jan 17, 2014 at 10:39:31 AM PST

  •  This caught my eye... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JerryNA, Eyesbright
    The firm will "review best practices for office operations and information flow, and assist with document retention and production,"
    This looks like code for "fire up the big, cross-cut shredders."

    I feel like I'm taking crazy pills!

    by itsjim on Fri Jan 17, 2014 at 10:47:09 AM PST

    •  It's too late for that unless (0+ / 0-)

      there are even more e-mails from private, perhaps even throw-away, accounts.

      People forget that e-mails are retained on servers at both ends of the communication.  They're especially likely to forget that when they're in a hurry/frenzy of gleeful revenge and/or have gotten away with doing what they're doing for a long time.

      They don't win until we quit fighting!

      by Eyesbright on Fri Jan 17, 2014 at 02:06:17 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  True. (0+ / 0-)

        I didn't mean literally shredding documents. I've worked at enough large companies to have learned that an important aspect of "records retention" is making sure that records which could present a future liability are not retained.

        While you are right about email, I suspect that people working in the governor's office have accounts that reside on the same physical server. On the other hand, I was surprised to see some that were sent from gmail accounts.

        I feel like I'm taking crazy pills!

        by itsjim on Sat Jan 18, 2014 at 01:02:01 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  He'd perjure himself, IMO (0+ / 0-)

    so it ain't worth it.

    "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

    by lgmcp on Fri Jan 17, 2014 at 10:47:56 AM PST

  •  immunity RICO (0+ / 0-)

    i do not recall the exact definition of rico, butg if a bunch of people conspire to  a criminal act and then stonewall, does it apply?

    Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups.

    by danielkatz1 on Fri Jan 17, 2014 at 10:55:43 AM PST

  •  No Honor between Criminals and Thieves (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The Little fish are caught in the Net.

    If they sing the right song, then it's catch and
    release time in New Jersey.

    There is Nothing that Unusual about Chris Christy.

    Screwing political opponents at the Public's expense
    is a long standing tradition in the Rethuglycant Party.

    I Hope the Smell of this Corruption lasts until November.

    On Giving Advice: Smart People Don't Need It and Stupid People Don't Listen

    by Brian76239 on Fri Jan 17, 2014 at 11:22:13 AM PST

  •  I'm willing to take the death penalty off the tabl (0+ / 0-)

    Or table, as you non-space-constrained people say.

    It's not the side effects of the cocaine/I'm thinking that it must be love

    by Rich in PA on Fri Jan 17, 2014 at 11:26:17 AM PST

  •  Oh boy! (0+ / 0-)

    Whether or not he's granted immunity will determine just how much of the truth, the power behind the throne want revealed.

  •  Bad News For Chritie (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    newpioneer, Eyesbright, indie17

    As soon as I saw the clips of David Wildstein's lawyer saying his client would talk if he was granted immunity from state and federal prosecution I thought right then Christie was a gonner. It indicated to me Wildstein was not willing to be a fall guy. And once he turns on Christie others will surely follow.

    Collect Different Days

    by Homers24 on Fri Jan 17, 2014 at 11:30:01 AM PST

  •  This is where we can giggle at all of the (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Democratic Party donations that flowed Christie's way during his recent victory over Buono.  Well played.

  •  Christie is finished nationally, but (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    phatcat cane, zestyann, HCKAD

    the beltway media and the GOP Old Guard have had simply too much invested in him to let go.  Reagan was indeed a third-rate film actor, fostered by General Electric and propped up by the Rupert Murdoch Empire and my native Warren, Ohio's Roger Ailes, through "Fox News Network," literally created to maintain for him a legacy in the face of the reality that his policies in fact nearly decimated the United States.

    However, what was possible for Reagan is simply not possible for Christie.  The world has vastly changed in these thirty-four years.  The Internet has its own investigative techniques; MSNBC is now a strong counterpoint to "Fox News," and, although the beltway media and GOP Old Guard yet have strong alliances, with much infusion of huge capital (now unrestricted by the federal government) from such sources as the Koch brothers, sweeping under the rug an effort by Christie cronies to create traffic havoc along the George Washington bridge as political retribution could not be a bigger deal.

    This is not about a politician, left, right, or center, covering up an affair.  This is not about an Embassy being attacked.  Try as the Right Wing media attempts, there are no parallels.  This is about the worst form of retribution--at very least a Governor's own point people potentially causing thousands of deaths through a manufactured traffic hold-up along the world's busiest bridge.  Being affable cannot save any political person from such a charge because it either means that said politician is in fact himself criminally liable in what could easily have resulted in scores of fatalities, or that his immediate staff--whom he himself selected--is.

    Thus, in the best case scenario, it means that you, as an "affable take-charge type of governor" at are best a politician who surrounds himself with revenge-seeking Neanderthals who also happen to be highly incompetent staffers who seem not to notice that they leave paper trials right up to the Governor’s doorstep.  And that is the very best scenario that can emerge from this.  The Koch brothers and Roger Ailes and Fox News and company simply haven't enough money, much less influence, to replicate what thrust Ronald Reagan into the White House in 1980--and even that took the exploitation of American hostages in Iran to begin to pull off.

    The more likely scenario is that somebody somewhere will implicate Christie, and if not regarding "Bridgegate," then certainly by way of any number of his other less than kosher political maneuvers over the past several years.  The reason that the beltway press and Right Wing Media--thus effecting public opinion poll results--cannot simply dismiss Christie as now dead as a candidate for national politics is that the moribund GOP, aside from the remote possibility of trying to invest in yet another Bush family member, literally has nobody else who is even remotely viable for 2016.

    The MSM needs some kind of a horse-race.  It requires some kind of political narrative, involving some kind of drama.  Now (if reality can be addressed, rather than the ongoing fantasy of the MSM) with Christie no longer a force in national politics, the remainder of the GOP field of hopeful presidential contenders for 2016 is almost entirely laughable to anybody outside the weird world of the current GOP itself.  Thus, any attempt to resurrect Christie is going to have to suffice for the poor, increasingly irrelevant MSM in the interim.

    As to the Democratic field, there are any numbers of wonderful, extremely viable candidates.  But should that candidate become Hillary Clinton, contrary to the opinions of many within this progressive website, I believe, and surely legions more besides, that she will likely prevail in at least forty states, winning votes from across the aisle, and taking with her some of the last bastions of formerly "safe" GOP territories.  

    The lady is as seasoned a political candidate as is possible--and has survived just about every fathomable accusation, in every conceivable role on the national stage.  In her case, the maturity of years will be an additional asset.  Anybody in opposition to her is going to look like an amateur.  

    Even should the beltway media, the GOP Old Guard, and a few billion dollars hobble together a moribund Chris Christie--or some facsimile of--as the Republican candidate for 2016, against former Madame Secretary Clinton such a candidate will come across as a petulant and pitiful child.  And there can be no salvaging that for a pass into the role of Chief Executive.

    •  Great post, should be a diary (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      100% agree with you about HRC.  I didn't care for her much in 2008 but she has an excellent chance to pull a LBJ type victory.  

    •  It kicks the door wide open for Jeb Bush (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Eyesbright, HCKAD

      I don't think it's a remote possibility at all - this is what R kingmakers have been hoping for; get Christie out of the picture and give JB the 'savior of the Party' mantle. He 'reluctantly' agrees to be their nominee 'for the good of the Party', while FOX, Limbaugh and all the other mouthpieces wax nostalgic about how wonderful things were under brother George, before Obama and the 'Democrat Party' took over and destroyed the economy, business, healthcare, and our foreign policy.

      To get back my youth I would do anything in the world, except take exercise, get up early, or be respectable. - Oscar Wilde

      by Fordmandalay on Fri Jan 17, 2014 at 12:51:50 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  sure he'll talk, but will he be honest? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    given what i have read about him, not sure how much i trust  whatever comes out of his mouth. seems like a wo
    rld class spinner to me.

  •  Sing... (0+ / 0-)

    sing a song...sing out loud, sing out strong!

    Let me explain the order of things to you. There's the aristocracy, the upper class, the middle class, working class, dumb animals, waiters, creeping things, head lice, people who eat packet soup, then you. -- Gareth Blackstock, Chef!

    by avamontez on Fri Jan 17, 2014 at 12:00:36 PM PST

  •  It's only worth granting immunity if he can nail a (0+ / 0-)

    It's only worth granting immunity if he can nail a superior.

    The prosecutor should ask his lawyer if he has evidence of the involvement of a superior.

  •  And thus ends another political career (0+ / 0-)

    Gov. Christie better call Fox to see if there is a job waiting for him.

    I have never been able to figure out if Fox is the propaganda arm of the Republican party or is the Republican Party the political subsidiary of Fox.

    by Dave from Oregon on Fri Jan 17, 2014 at 03:06:02 PM PST

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