Former Karl Rove Attorney to Defend Christie for Governor Campaign

Former Karl Rove Attorney to Defend Christie for Governor Campaign

As the latest recipient of a subpoena from the New Jersey Legislature’s committee investigating last September’s closing of lanes on the George Washington Bridge, the Christie for Governor campaign has hired an attorney famous for representing Lance Armstrong and Karl Rove during the Valerie Plame ordeal.

According to, the Christie for Governor campaign as a corporate entity will be represented at the legislative hearings by Patton Boggs, a prominent firm known for high-profile defense cases. Specifically, attorneys Bob Luskin and Mark Sheridan will be representing the campaign. The campaign is a separate entity from the Christie administration in Trenton–also subpoenaed piecemeal–and is being represented by different lawyers.

Luskin made a name for himself as the “liberal” that defended Karl Rove during the Valerie Plame trial, in which Rove was investigated for potentially outing Plame as a CIA operative to journalist Robert Novak. Rove was not indicted, but remained a potential suspect, and hired Luskin to aid him in testifying. Rove was not found guilty of any wrongdoing in the incident. The Washington Post described Luskin then as “a man of somewhat Neiman-Marxist tastes, a self-described liberal on social issues,” someone who superficially did not belong anywhere near Karl Rove. But Lanny Davis, quoted for the story, thought him “the perfect person for Rove” because he “gets it.” Luskin is known for having a positive and colorful relationship with the media, and being able to argue in a PR manner as well as successfully in a courtroom, according to the profile.

Luskin’s next high profile case was in defense of Lance Armstrong, the cyclist accused of using performance-enhancing drugs to achieve record-breaking results at races. At the time, Luskin noted that he was “still friends” with Rove and they spoke occasionally, but that his services as an attorney had expired because “his services are only for ‘people who are in trouble.'”

Luskin will be accompanied in his representation by Mark Sheridan, an attorney famous for his work with New Jersey Republicans and more of an insider to this case. Sheridan serves also as general counsel for the New Jersey Republican State Committee. Sheridan is expected to bring specialized expertise, both in the law of New Jersey and, with a history of defending Republicans in the state, a history of their activities.

The choice of a lawyer close to Karl Rove makes sense given the former Bush advisor’s close relationship with Governor Christie. Rove has been among Christie’s most loyal supporters since the George Washington Bridge scandal erupted. In the aftermath of Christie’s two-hour press conference apologizing for the bridge closures and taking responsibility for any damage done, Rove proclaimed that the move had given the governor “street cred” with the Tea Party, whose voters now say of Christie, “that’s what we want in a leader.”

The campaign– along with the New Jersey Republican Party and 20 other individuals and groups subpoenaed by the legislature, are expected to hand over the documents requested and, in many cases, testify before the committee in mid-February.