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Door Closes on “Bridgegate”

GWB

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Fort Lee NJ, A former top official of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey was sentenced today to 18 months in prison for his role in a scheme to punish the mayor of Fort Lee, New Jersey, by misusing Port Authority resources to cause traffic problems in the borough, Attorney for the United States Mark Coyne announced.

William E. Baroni Jr., 47, formerly the deputy executive director of the Port Authority, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Susan D. Wigenton in Newark federal court.

Continue reading Door Closes on “Bridgegate”
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Bill Brennan “Bridgegate” Complaint Allowed to Move Forward

Bill Brennan Bridgewgate
October 13,2016
the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Fort Lee NJ, as the Ridgewood blog reported yesterday local activist Bill Brennan sued Christie in municipal court, alleging official misconduct related to the traffic jam.

Christie hired the New York Law Firm of Alston and Bird to defend him tomorrow. The waited until after the 6 O’Clock News aired to serve and file eight pages of evidence proving that they don’t understand NJ practice as it pertains to Probable Cause .

The judge ruled to advance the Bill Brennan’s complaint to the next level, rejecting the attempts by Christie’s lawyers to improperly interject themselves at this stage. On Facebook Brennan’s supporters claim,”
Today, the cause of justice was advanced a single notch…thanks to Bill Brennan!”

The criminal case complaint will now be given to the Bergen County prosecutor Gurbir Grewal to consider for indictment. Grewal a Democrat was appointed by Christie ,has some calling for him to recuse given his prior relationship as a Christie appointee. It is felt by Brennan supporters there is need a genuinely impartial special prosecutor to pick this up, indict, try and convict Governor Christie for official misconduct.

The Christie team has immediatly filed an apeal .

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Bridgegate witness says Cuomo and Christie discussed cover story

GWB

By Ryan Hutchins

10/04/16 12:03 PM EDT

NEWARK, N.J. — Andrew Cuomo and Chris Christie personally discussed how to handle the fallout from the George Washington Bridge lane closures, even agreeing to release a report covering up the incident, according to the admitted mastermind of the political revenge scheme.

Cuomo’s administration — referred to in testimony as “Albany” — told the top official at the bistate Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to “lay off” Christie following the incident, former Port official David Wildstein testified here in U.S. District Court.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/states/new-york/albany/story/2016/10/bridgegate-witness-says-cuomo-and-christie-discussed-cover-story-106056#ixzz4M9gXhVxG

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‘Bridgegate’ Was Stupid, Not Criminal: DOJ Indictment Oversteps

GWB

Paul J. Larkin Jr. / David Rosenthal / @DL_Rosenthal / John-Michael Seibler

This week, the infamous “Bridgegate” scandal goes to trial, with former officials in New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s administration facing serious charges from the U.S. Department of Justice. Not since London Bridge came falling down in 1281 has an overpass caused such a stir.

The backstory: In 2013, Christie was running for re-election. Like every other politician in that position, he was trying to round up support from other state and local pols. Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich, however, declined to get on board. That is when the plot thickened.

The story is that several officials in Christie’s administration agreed to shut down some (but not all) of the traffic lanes across the George Washington Bridge into New York, creating a huge traffic jam in Fort Lee. That would “punish” Sokolich for his failure to “get in line.” It was a prank. A dirty trick. Think the end of “Animal House,” just real life.

As pranks or dirty tricks go, it was tawdry, even stupid. (Did they think no one would find out?) Christie himself described the lane closure as “abject stupidity.”

Once the story broke, Christie and his cohorts predictably took a drubbing from the notoriously tough New York media. Christie certainly paid a price in the media for the imbroglio and likely also among the electorate during his later run for the Republican nomination for the presidency.

No one has a constitutional right to avoid traffic or to use three or four lanes when approaching a bridge.

One might think that a media firestorm and political retribution were adequate penalties for a stupid, cheap, political dirty trick. But not in 21st-century America, where the U.S. Justice Department believes that political dirty tricks are actually crimes. The Justice Department has charged Bridget Kelly, Christie’s former deputy chief of staff, along with David Wildstein and William Baroni, officials of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, with multiple federal felonies for their parts in the Great Gridlock Shenanigans. The 37-page, 9-count indictment alleges these officials committed theft of federal government property, fraud, the deprivation of the civil rights of New Jersey residents, and that they conspired to do all of the foregoing. (If the defendants had dynamited an empty bridge, they would have committed fewer crimes.)

Wildstein pleaded guilty in 2015 to two counts of conspiracy and implicated his alleged co-conspirators. He will likely regret that because, as explained below, he pleaded guilty to nonexistent crimes.

What property did they steal? The bridge is still there—and probably the traffic, too.

What property did they misuse? The government alleges that the defendants misused “the time and services of unwitting Port Authority personnel.” Really? If that is a form of theft, then the Justice Department inspector general should investigate to make sure no DOJ employee uses a DOJ fax machine to send a permission slip to a child’s school, or uses the government’s WATS line to call a sick parent, or uses an office computer to check the scores on ESPN, or wastes away the day chatting with colleagues—or any of the other matters that go on in the federal government on a daily basis.

What was the fraud? Neither the defendants nor anyone else derived any personal financial benefit from the scheme. Was the fraud an implicit representation that politicians would not act like politicians? Puhleeze! We’re talkin’ “New Joisey” here! Besides, any DOJ prosecutor who thinks that politicians do not pull stupid stunts like this one is guilty of defrauding the federal government for telling his superiors that he is savvy enough to be a DOJ prosecutor.

The only benefit that Christie’s associates got was schadenfreude. If that is sufficient to violate the fraud statute, the Supreme Court has been wasting its time trying to interpret that law because, as Cole Porter wrote, anything goes.

Most outrageous is the civil rights charge. What civil right did the defendants violate? The constitutional right not to be ensnarled in traffic? Fuggedaboutit! Perhaps there is a constitution somewhere that includes a Traffic Clause (right after the Sanity Clause), but the American Constitution sure doesn’t.

The Constitution guarantees everyone a right to interstate migration, not interstate commuting — and certainly not speedy interstate commuting, let alone a right to “localized” driving, as the government’s indictment alleges. No one has a constitutional right to avoid traffic or to use three or four lanes when approaching a bridge. Besides, the defendants didn’t corral Fort Lee residents. There are numerous bridges, tunnels, and ferries into New York. Perhaps someone should show the prosecutors a map.

Look at this matter another way. It would not violate the Constitution for officials to funnel traffic into fewer lanes to repave the bridge. The only difference between that scenario and this one is that these officials are said to have acted with the intent to injure someone—not the commuters, however; they were just the delivery vehicle for the pain.

The defendants’ intent was to injure Mayor Sokolich—not physically, just politically—for not being a “team player.” Yes, that is a shoddy way to treat the public (which always seems to take it in the shorts whenever politicians act like, well, politicians). But the Constitution protects us against political mischief. It lets us vote the perpetrators out of office. That is the proper remedy, not a criminal prosecution.

In a case involving alleged political misconduct (a trade association’s gifts to politicians), the late Justice Antonin Scalia wrote that “a statute in this field that can linguistically be interpreted to be either a meat axe or a scalpel should reasonably be taken to be the latter.” Here, the DOJ prosecutors have gone with a scythe.

A lawyer representing Kelly wrote that “the intentional causing of traffic” has never been the subject of federal civil rights allegations. “No other federal criminal case,” according to counsel, “has been prosecuted anywhere, at any time, with facts even remotely similar to the facts there.” We haven’t looked everywhere, but, by God, we sure hope he’s right.

Last spring, the Supreme Court unanimously spanked the DOJ in McDonnell v. United States for trying to stretch the federal criminal law to punish tawdry political behavior. McDonnell was not an anomaly. It was just the latest in a series of cases (including McNally, McCormick, Sun-Diamond Growers, Skillingand Yates) in which the Supreme Court has told the Justice Department that it is up to Congress—not the DOJ—to come up with newfangled crimes and to define them with precision.

The prosecutors need to listen to the music, not just read the lyrics, in the court’s opinions. The district court should have dismissed this indictment in an opinion that read simply, “GMAB.” Were this case to result in a conviction and ultimately reach the Supreme Court, the court will need to send the DOJ to its room without supper yet again. Why? Because with this indictment the Justice Department has essentially flipped off the court.

It is a good thing that there will be a presidential election in November. It offers every hope that there will be a new attorney general come January 2017. The Justice Department could use some adult supervision.

 

‘Bridgegate’ Was Stupid, Not Criminal: DOJ Indictment Oversteps

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Make it Up as You Go Along : U.S. attorney had to get creative in GWB lane-closure case

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MAY 11, 2015, 10:01 PM    LAST UPDATED: TUESDAY, MAY 12, 2015, 8:51 AM
BY HERB JACKSON
WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT |
THE RECORD

The crime of using a traffic jam for political retribution was never something Congress explicitly put in the federal statute books.

So U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman had to rely on laws Congress did pass as he built a criminal case in the George Washington Bridge lane closure scandal against three of Governor Christie’s former appointees.

Fishman relied on Section 666 of Chapter 18 of the United States code, a law sometimes called a national ban on corruption that is intended to punish fraud, bribery, theft and embezzlement from agencies that receive federal funds. The law also makes it is a crime to “misapply” property of federal aid recipients.

“That’s what gives us a federal hook in this case over that crime,” Fishman said at a news conference May 1. “Congress decided it was important to make it a crime of federal jurisdiction if people take resources – money, bribes, things for their benefit or for the benefit of other people – from state and local agencies that get federal money.”

But whether that is a legitimate use of the statute is very much open to debate in the legal community. One law professor, who has called Section 666 a “stealth statute,” questioned whether Fishman stretched the law too far to fit the bridge scandal. A Washington, D.C., defense lawyer also warned Fishman’s interpretation could face a challenge in appeals courts. And a researcher at a centrist think tank said the charges are the equivalent of making politics a crime.

Fishman said the law had been used in many past corruption cases, including the convictions of former Newark Mayor Sharpe James, former Perth Amboy Mayor Joe Vas, and even former Passaic Mayor Joseph Lipari back in 1992.

Former federal prosecutors said Fishman did what the Justice Department has done for years: He applied laws that Congress intentionally left vague to the facts of the case before him.

http://www.northjersey.com/news/analysis-u-s-attorney-had-to-get-creative-in-gwb-lane-closure-case-1.1331806

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Reader says , With Bridgegate ; The Record continues to beat this dead non-story.

no_news_theridgewoodblog

photo by Boyd Loving

Meanwhile they take the “what Difference Does it Make” approach to truly troubling stories… like presidential abuse of power in the Menendez and Tea Party cases or the Hillary Email-gate and FoundationFunding-gate national security issues.

That paper is not even fit for bird cages…

It is remarkable just how the media basically destroyed Christie with this relentless story, despite there being no evidence that Christie had any involvement in it. On the other hand, we have the leading contender to become the next President, and a far stronger set of circumstances that possibly involve all kinds of conflicts of interest and huge money, and the mainstream media are nowhere to be seen.

Our mainstream media is beyond corrupt.

That’s easy to explain. They would do it because they thought it would be what Christie wanted. They did it because it was punishment to “the other side”. Political campaign people get a little drunk on power and this is what appears to have happened. It’s no mystery when you want to come up with motives.

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North Jersey Media and the War on Chris Christie

Xanadu_main_theridgewoodblog

May 9,2015
the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, Bridgegate : “The Fort Lee lane closure scandal, also known as the George Washington Bridge lane closure scandal or Bridgegate,[1][2] is a U.S.political scandal in which a staff member and political appointees of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie collaborated to create traffic jams in Fort Lee, New Jersey by closing lanes at the toll plaza” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_Lee_lane_closure_scandal

Ever since the Bridgegate or Bridgeapoolza scandal broke in September 2013 , North Jersey Media has lead a non stop crusade of attacks on Governor Chris Christie . Lets put a side the silliness of making a scandal out of a “traffic jam” at the George Washington Bridge …snore.

A scandal in scandal plagued New Jersey isn’t really much news , the selective coverage and attacks on Chris Christie are . Its funny how the same media ignores criticism of Senator Bob Menedez , Former Governor Florio, “Jim” McGreevey and the king of ineptitude Jon Corzine ,while turing a blind eye to the total destruction of the state once vibrant economy , pension short falls and government waste .All the sins of the last 20 years have now all been laid squarely at the foot of Chris Christie .

All they attacks on Christie have amounted to no more than the shocking revelation that he is a Dallas Cowboys fan and yes like ALL NEW JERSEY POLITICIANS  he appoints his friends to state jobs (shocker) .

But today I had to laugh when Record columnist Charles Stile tried to equate and tie Governor Chris Christie to the NFL’s deflate gate .http://www.northjersey.com/news/stile-christie-may-see-a-bit-of-himself-in-tom-brady-s-troubles-1.1330154  .

Meanwhile one of the largest financial fiasco’s in Bergen County history the American Dream Mall formerly know as Jim McGreevey’s , Bob Menendez and Boss Joe Ferriero’s Xanadu lies as a grim monument to vulgarity. Xanadu is nothing more than a great white elephant and reminder of the abject greed and stupidity that motivates our public officials .

Once again we ask “who is the idiot that thought the state needed to build a mall in Bergen County ?”

Xanadu ie..American Dream Meadowlands  (ADM) is a retail and entertainment complex located in the Meadowlands Sports Complex in East Rutherford, New Jersey. It was first proposed in 2003 by the Mills Corporation as the Meadowlands Xanadu. After the bankruptcy of that company in 2007, the project was taken over by Colony Capital. In May 2009, construction stalled due to the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Dream_Meadowlands.

In the last 20 years the New Jersey media in general and North Jersey media in particular have supported and misrepresented every issue in the favor of its big government friends never questioning  the claims , the cost or the consequences.
Now the the states economic resources have fled ,the roads are crumbling , pensions are underfunded and taxes continue to raise making this state an economic white elephant .
And still no word from North Jersey Media ….

 

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More Media Contrived fake Attacks on Christie

George-Washington_Bridge_sidewalks_New_York_P1450679

New Hampshire man who confronted Chris Christie on ‘Bridgegate’ changes story

A New Hampshire man who confronted Chris Christie about his role in the Bridgegate traffic scandal on Wednesday was mistaken about being stuck in the paralyzing September 2013 traffic jam in Fort Lee, New Jersey, he told POLITICO.

At a restaurant in Manchester, New Hampshire, where Christie was greeting potential voters on his tour of the Granite State, Richard Moquin claimed to have sat in the infamous traffic jam with his wife as they traveled to Manhattan to celebrate their wedding anniversary.

Turns out that wasn’t true. (Martel/Politico)

http://www.politico.com/story/2015/04/man-who-confronted-chris-christie-on-bridgegate-changes-story-117007.html#ixzz3XTH0FIDN

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Readers Ridicule Extreme Bias in Media Reporting of “Bridgegate or Bridgeapolooza” reporting

imgres-16
file photo Boyd Loving
Readers Ridicule Extreme Bias in Media Reporting of “Bridgegate or Bridgeapolooza” reporting 

The Record and it’s parent company are dying a well deserved slow death.
Good riddance.!

This all may be true. The one thing that Im concerned with is that poor horse. The Governor is sure asking that horse to do a lot.

so this news will slow the record to only 5 bridgegate stories per week?

I guess you didn’t see the retraction by NBC and the correction of Brian Williams by NBC news. OH well

Finally, it’s not “time for another GWB/let’s see if we can nail Christie” story from the Record. Also , what’s up with their hideous “sense of humor” Christie/GWB songs ad infinitum obsession? Tough choice between NoDoz or Excedrin.

You won’t find this news in The Record! Bridgegate every day of the year, but no mention of the above. Libtard Rag!

CNN was running a “Has Christie redeemed himself yet since Bridgegate” story.

WTF was there to redeem himself from?

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After 9 Months, Federal Probe of GWB Closure Finds No Link to Christie, Federal Sources Say

chris-christie-meme

After 9 Months, Federal Probe of GWB Closure Finds No Link to Christie, Federal Sources Say

By Jonathan Dienst, Joe Valiquette and Pete Williams

‘Bridgegate’ Investigators Find No Link to Chris Christie

Will Democrats Refund Taxpayers ?

Friday, Sep 19, 2014 • Updated at 9:23 AM EDT

The U.S. Justice Department investigation into Gov. Chris Christie’s role in the George Washington Bridge lane closure scandal has thus far uncovered no evidence indicating that he either knew in advance or directed the closure of traffic lanes on the span, federal officials tell NBC 4 New York.

The September 2013 closures — where several entrance lanes to the George Washington Bridge in Fort Lee were shut down, causing a traffic nightmare for commuters — has been the subject of several federal and state investigations.

http://www.nbcnewyork.com/investigations/chris-christie-bridgegate-federal-probe-george-washington-bridge-closures-gwb-275661911.html