The federal judge presiding over the trial of Governor Chris Christie’s former Deputy Chief of Staff Bridget Ann Kelly and former Port Authority Deputy Executive Director Bill Baroni in the George Washington Bridge lane closures ruled yesterday that Christie’s taxpayer funded lawyers used a clever, calculated tactic that had “the same effect” as deleting and shredding documents at the center of the so called independent investigation into the matter which purportedly exonerated Christie.
“The taxpayers of the State of New Jersey paid GDC (Gibson Dunn & Crutcher) to conduct a transparent and thorough investigation. What they got instead was opacity and gamesmanship. They deserve better,” wrote Judge Susan D. Wigenton.
Kelly and Baroni’s lawyers subpoenaed the interview notes and recordings of the “Mastro Report” investigation that New Jersey taxpayers have paid over $8 million for, so far. The report by former federal prosecutor Randy Mastro, a partner at Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, claimed that Christie had no prior knowledge of the Septmember 2013 lane closures on the George Washington Bridge.
GDC claimed that interview notes don’t exist. Instead of taking notes by hand or recording, “witness interviews were summarized electronically while the interviews were being conducted and then edited electronically into a singe final version.” GDC admitted that they employed this tactic because of the media interest in the case and because of the legislature’s investigation into the matter.
Judge Wigenton wrote, “The practical effect of this unorthodox approach was to ensure that contemporaneous notes of the witness interviews and draft summaries would not be preserved. Rather, they would be overwritten during the creation of the revised and edited final summary.”
Judge Wigenton’s ruling can be read here.