As the investigation into the scandal now known as BridgeGate continues, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie prepares his own internal investigation to ensure that all those involved (assuming he was not) are discovered and removed. To do that, Christie has enlisted the help of Randy Mastro, a former prosecutor and mob specialist.
Reports that the Christie administration retained Mastro surfaced today, whose extensive resume includes serving as Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s deputy mayor of operations and as U.S. Attorney in New York. As prosecutor, Mastro specialized in organized crime cases, and will lead a team of lawyers working within the administration to assess the situation. He is also described in NJ.com as a “full-time antagonist of another former mayor, Michael Bloomberg.” Mastro, who is also currently representing the oil company Chevron, filed legal complaints against the Bloomberg administration for eminent domain matters and “several esoteric issues involving the Fulton Fish Market and wholesale produce businesses.”
Mastro record also includes a landmark case against the International Brotherhood of Teamsters for undemocratic union practices.
“Governor Christie made clear last week that he will conduct an internal review to uncover the facts surrounding the lane closures in Fort Lee,” the governor’s office announced to the press along with the announcement of Mastro’s hiring. Mastro and his team, the office notes, “will bring an outside, third-party perspective to the situation.” In his extensive two-hour press conference on the situation last Thursday, Christie ensured the press that he had nothing to do with the closing of the bridge and would do his best to get to the bottom of the situation and clear his office of anyone involved in creating the now famous Fort Lee traffic disaster.
The news that Christie has opted for outside counsel to review the situation–including thousands of email communication files and the controversial “traffic study” in question–follows news that the New Jersey legislature has tapped a former prosecutor on the Rod Blagojevich case to tackle BridgeGate. Illinois attorney Reid Schar led the prosecution team that put Blagojevich in jail for 14 years and worked on the infamous Tony Rezko case. A history of investigations into corruption scandals led the legislature to appoint Schar as special counsel, running a parallel investigation to Mastro’s.
Subpoenas from the legislative committee investigating the closure of Fort Lee’s local traffic lanes on the George Washington Bridge are expected at any time, as the committee continues to meet and discuss how to approach evidence gathering and analysis. A special investigation committee separate from the greater legislative team was approved today, as well as a parallel Senate team that has yet to meet.