Breaking News Bar
posted: 1/15/2014 2:28 PM

Blagojevich prosecutor to lead N.J. scandal inquiry

hello
Success - Article sent! close
  • New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie delivers his State Of The State address at the Statehouse Tuesday. The federal prosecutor who helped convict former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich of corruption was tapped Wednesday to investigate the apparent political payback scandal involving Christie's administration.

      New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie delivers his State Of The State address at the Statehouse Tuesday. The federal prosecutor who helped convict former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich of corruption was tapped Wednesday to investigate the apparent political payback scandal involving Christie's administration.
    ASSOCIATED PRESS

 
Associated Press

TRENTON, N.J. -- The federal prosecutor who helped convict former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich of corruption was tapped Wednesday to investigate the apparent political payback scandal involving New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's administration.

Former assistant U.S. Attorney Reid Schar will advise a legislative committee investigating a plot that shut down lanes to the George Washington Bridge for four days in September, causing massive traffic jams in the town of Fort Lee. The plot apparently was hatched as a political vendetta, possibly against the town's Democratic mayor for not endorsing the Republican governor's re-election.

Order Reprint Print Article
 
Interested in reusing this article?
Custom reprints are a powerful and strategic way to share your article with customers, employees and prospects.
The YGS Group provides digital and printed reprint services for Daily Herald. Complete the form to the right and a reprint consultant will contact you to discuss how you can reuse this article.
Need more information about reprints? Visit our Reprints Section for more details.

Contact information ( * required )

Success - request sent close

"A potential misuse of taxpayer resources for political purposes is a serious matter that requires an astute legal eye with experience in this realm to help guide the process," said Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto, a Democrat.

Christie, a possible 2016 presidential candidate, has apologized and denied any knowledge of the plot's planning or execution. The scandal is the most serious threat to his political future so far, and four members of his circle have been fired or resigned.

More subpoenas will be issued Thursday, after the Assembly formally votes to continue its investigation in the new legislative session, according to state Assemblyman John Wisniewski, who is heading a special committee leading the probe. The New Jersey Senate and U.S. attorney's office are conducting parallel inquiries.

"This started out as an investigation into the Port Authority operations and finances and has led us in the governor's office," said Wisniewski, referring to the agency that runs the bridge. He said the investigation has shifted focus with the release of subpoenaed emails, mostly from private accounts.

The documents show a since-fired Christie deputy unleashed the traffic shutdown with an email message, "time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee."

"Got it," replied the recipient, David Wildstein, a Christie associate who has since resigned from the Port Authority.

Schar, who co-chairs the white collar defense and investigations practice for the law firm Jenner & Block LLP, issued a statement Wednesday saying his firm "understands the importance of this investigation" and will "work diligently" to support the committee.

Blagojevich is serving a 14-year prison term for trying to sell an appointment to President Barack Obama's vacated U.S. Senate seat.

Share this page
Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.
    help here