Chris Christie clears Chris Christie

  • Article by: EDITORIAL , New York Times
  • Updated: March 28, 2014 - 6:52 PM

It cost New Jersey taxpayers $1 million-plus to learn governor’s lawyers think he’s clean.

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New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie

Lawyers hired by Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey at public expense issued their findings Thursday on the traffic jams at the George Washington Bridge in September, apparently engineered as a bizarre form of political revenge. To no one’s surprise, Christie’s lawyers have found his hands to be clean. He was without fault, they declared. This glossy political absolution cost the taxpayers of New Jersey more than $1 million in legal fees.

We can now add this expensive whitewash to the other evidence of trouble in Christie’s administration. If Christie really wants to win back public trust, he and his political allies can start by paying for this internal inquiry out of their own pockets. Then the governor and these lawyers can make all e-mails and any other crucial information available to federal and state investigators.

In the report, lawyers from Gibson Dunn & Crutcher said they interviewed 70 people, including Christie, and studied 250,000 documents, including private phone records for Christie and his top aides. The lead lawyer, Randy Mastro, a former deputy mayor in Rudolph Giuliani’s administration, boasted that his work was “comprehensive and exhaustive.”

Not exactly. The report lays the blame for this entire scandal on two of Christie’s former colleagues, who refused to be interviewed.

One was Bridget Anne Kelly, who was Christie’s deputy chief of staff until he called her a liar at a news conference and fired her in January.

The other was David Wildstein, a former Christie ally and appointee to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey who resigned last year.

Similarly, Mayor Dawn Zimmer of Hoboken, N.J., who is cooperating with federal investigators, declined to talk with the governor’s legal team.

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