Former Christie cronies Wildstein and Kelly have made it clear all along they are willing to tell all in exchange for immunity. Those of us who do not like the news to hold us in suspense longer than a three-act play are getting impatient. Why hasn't there been a deal yet and why do we not, finally, know everything?
The answer is pretty simple: nobody will sign off on a deal until both sides agree on the price, and we are going to have to wait a little longer before the price becomes clear. However, the process is moving and we can hope for an interesting outcome. In the meantime, it seems Chris Christie himself is proceeding on the assumption that he has already done everything he can for damage control.
To make sense of all this we have to consider how immunity deals are actually struck.
The underlying premise behind an immunity deal is that prosecutors will give up the ability to go against one wrongdoer -- by giving him/her immunity -- in exchange for information that will help them point the finger to a more valuable target. In criminal schemes, this means a kingpin; in the present context, it means someone higher up in authority. There really is no likely target Wildstein and Kelly could offer other than Christie, if they want to make a deal. Conceivably each could be trying to pin the situation on the other, but that does not seem like the sort of deal that would tempt a prosecutor, who would more likely use their joint emails to go after both of them. The fact they are both courting immunity can only mean they both think they can hurt Christie.
Additionally, a prosecutor will not make a deal until he knows what he is getting. This involves at least two steps. First, the prosecutor investigates the case to see what comes to light without a deal. In a case like this, there is a vast web of emails other electronic messages that needs to be fleshed out. With emails, you look at what you have in hand, and that tells you everyone who got copied. You ask those people to produce their emails, and by looking at what you already have you know if they have produced everything or not. (That is why earlier in this case we heard a lawyer tell a judge he know things existed because he had seen them - but without producing any examples. You don't turn up all your cards.) If the prosecutor finds he has a complete case without needing another witness, a deal is unnecessary.
When a deal looks promising, a prosecutor usually will want to pin down the specifics. That means getting a proffer from the would-be witness. The proffer spells out what the witness "would" say if given the right conditions. Basically, in this case, an acceptable proffer would be something like "I am not saying anything, but if you give me immunity I will not only point the finger at Chris Christie, but also give you some documents or details that confirm my statement." It takes time to flesh this sort of thing out, since the negotiations have to move cautiously, and the prosecutor is also always keeping an eye on the information he is getting from other sources. Seeking immunity, you want to turn up only enough cards to show what you could tell, without actually documenting the complete case.
On the other side, the person negotiating for immunity will be looking for two things to fall into place. First, if it looks like the investigation is drying up, there is no sense in cutting any deal. Better to hold out and look like a hero to your boss. In a case like this, someone who keeps quite might end up with another high-paying, basically no-show job. Second, if it looks like you actually are in danger of prosecution, then you want to cut a deal that really does let you off the hook. To do that, you need to know what your exposure is. In the Bridgegate mess, it looks like there was a violation of both state and federal law. That means that we cannot expect anyone to start cutting deals until they can get immunity from both state and federal prosecutors. Obviously, the NJ legislature cannot do that.
We can assume that all of the investigations are sharing what they get. That means that as state, legislative, and federal investigations go forward, they are harvesting a lot of miscellaneous detail. Bit by bit they are figuring out what really happened, and they are sharing that information. Whoever it was that ordered the lane closures, it is inevitable that his/her identity is going to come out, along with the motivation. We are also likely to, eventually, get an awful lot of information about political deals that were struck in NJ.
One reason my money remains against Christie is that Kelly and Wildstein seem to be holding out for an immunity deal. If they did not have something really good to sell, then I would expect one or the other to start cutting a cheaper deal. If each could only implicate the other, it is unlikely they could get off completely. The deal we would be seeing then would be one where one or the other agrees to plea guilty to something relatively minor in exchange for pointing the finger at the other, who ends up getting charged with something more serious. Because Kelly and Wildstein appear to be fairly equal as prosecutorial targets, each could be expected to be rushing to be the first to turn state's evidence against the other. The fact this has not happened seems to suggest everyone is looking at a higher, and bigger target.
So what can Christie do? Basically, nothing. If he was involved in the lane closures, we can assume that eventually Wildstein and Kelly will find a cutting a deal preferable to taking a fall for the big guy. Since there is nothing Christie can really do to prevent that, he is simply making the best of a bad situation. Better to bluster on through, keep his present job, and maybe even have a crack at president if there is some breakdown in the investigation. Maybe he only said something like "will nobody rid me of this mayor of Ft.Lee?" in an intimate discussion, and maybe prosecutors will feel that rumor of such a rhetorical statement is not worth bringing a case. He may slip through. I would put my money on the prosecution, though.
What is less likely to slip through entirely is the political dealing in New Jersey that is again coming out. There were deals upon deals, to the point the whole picture may be too complicated to wrap up in a simple case. There, the probability is that difficulties in prosecution, coupled with debts owed by some of the prosecutors themselves, will result in most of the shady deals being ignored, with one or two pursued for a token victory.