"When it rains it pours."
Just as we are digesting the news of Governor Scott Walker being in the center of a criminal scheme, I thought I'd check in on how the prosecutors are doing with Governor Chris Christie, and found Esquire is just breaking this this exclusive story. Scott Raab and Lisa Brennan report EXCLUSIVE: PROSECUTOR IS CLOSING IN ON GOV. CHRISTIE, saying "indictments against four cronies are near certain, sources say. Only question is if David Samson, Christie's longtime crony, will flip. They claim to have two inside sources.
Two sources with intimate knowledge of the case say Fishman’s pace is quickening -- he has empaneled a second grand jury, and the U.S. Justice Department has sent assistant prosecutors and FBI agents to work the case. ... Christie’s Port appointees -- not only Samson, but former PA Deputy Executive Director Bill Baroni and his oddball sidekick David Wildstein -- all face near-certain indictment and are being pressed to hand up Christie, as is the governor’s former chief counsel, Charlie McKenna.
Wildstein, portrayed as the mastermind behind Ft. Lee’s traffic problems, has made proffers to Fishman’s investigators -- hoping to trade information to the prosecutor in exchange for gentler legal treatment -- but Fishman has cut no deals with anyone so far, and the looming indictments have encouraged Christie’s PA appointees to sing. “Don’t underestimate what Wildstein has on Christie,” says one source. “And Wildstein and Baroni have both turned on Samson. If Samson doesn't give Fishman Christie, Samson is toast.”
Federal charges in the bridge closures potentially include both intentional interference in interstate commerce and -- in the cover-up that ensued -- obstruction of justice. The use of Port Authority money, raised by issuing bonds, to pay for non-PA projects will likely result in charges of securities fraud and conspiracy to commit same; the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is also investigating on this front, along with the Manhattan District Attorney, who’s seeking evidence to support state charges of falsifying business records and official misconduct. Charges derived from David Samson’s numerous conflicts of interest while serving as a PA official could, in Hoboken’s case, include federal charges of extortion under the Hobbs Act, and New York state charges of official misconduct and corruption.
I've always thought David Samson played a significant role in this as it seemed unlikely that David Wildstein, an outsider could have arranged such a conspicuous scheme without significant internal backing.
We should set this line to music.
“And Wildstein and Baroni have both turned on Samson. If Samson doesn't give Fishman Christie, Samson is toast.”
12:48 PM PT: Salon is covering this article and the unsealed documents in the Scott Walker case. Scandals heat up for Scott Walker and Chris Christie
Today was a bad day for Republican governors. Out in Wisconsin, the long-simmering investigation into Gov. Scott Walker’s 2012 recall campaign boiled over as prosecutors unsealed documents laying out what they say was Walker’s central role in a “criminal scheme” to illegally coordinate with outside groups. And in New Jersey, reports are that investigators picking apart the almost comedic corruption of Gov. Chris Christie’s administration have several of the governor’s top aides dead-to-rights and are closing in on Christie himself.
6:09 PM PT: In All In With Chris Hayes, Chris Hayes interviewed Scott Raab co-author of the Esuire article. Here's is my best attempt to take notes on it for you. As soon as a transcript is available, I'll atteach it to an update.
Chris askes. how solid are you on this? Raab responded immediately "100% solid.," going to praise the bone fides of his two sources.
Raab said "Foundationally" David Wildstein and Bill Boroni have made proffers to give up David Samsong. Fishman has rejected those proffers as "not enough."
CH: Can you tell me something about Paul Fishman, particularly since many of the people sitting in that same office, used go work for Chris Christie in that office?!
Raab: 'Many of those same people went with Christie to Trenton, others remained behind recused themselvses, which is why they needed to bring in more resources from the DOJ.
Chertoff, who used to be Fishman's mentor, and this is believed to be the reason he was hired, are believed to be negotiating a deal so that David Samson who is 74 does not have to die in jail.
Raab. 'Once the alibi was set that David Wildstein and Bridget Kelly single-handedly thought up and executed the whole thing themselves... everyone was dazzled.' The Mastro report started with that assumption and worked bacgwards spendin 3 million dollars of taxpayer money to try to make that seem plausible. (With an implication that it isn't I believe I detected but this could have been a subjective projection on my part.)