Christie’s Bridgegate Lawyers Engaged in ‘Gamesmanship,’ Judge Says

Matt Katz | December 16, 2015 | Katz on Christie

A federal court judge says that although the taxpayer-funded investigation into the Christie Administration’s actions during the Bridgegate scandal were inappropriate, a subpoena to seek more information must be thrown out.

The two former Christie appointees indicted for conspiring to close the lanes to the George Washington Bridge to retaliate against a local mayor were seeking documents from Christie’s lawyers in order to build their defense for trial, scheduled for April. They wanted to know more about an internal investigation by the Gibson Dunn law firm, which was hired by Christie to represent his office in the scandal and has so far billed taxpayers $8 million. Gibson Dunn found the governor was not guilty of any wrongdoing.

Gibson Dunn said it kept no notes or electronic data from 75 interviews it conducted with Christie officials and others as part of its investigation. In a court filing on Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Susan Wigenton said that means Christie’s lawyers effectively shredded investigative documents. She said taxpayers were promised a transparent probe and instead got “opacity and gamesmanship.”

And yet because Gibson Dunn attorneys said they have no information beyond the public report they have already released, Wigenton said she had no choice but to quash the defendants’ subpoena.

Meanwhile, one of the chief lawyers from Gibson Dunn representing Christie — Debra Wong Yang, a long-time friend of the governor’s — co-hosted a $2,700-a-person fundraiser for Christie’s presidential campaign Wednesday night in Beverly Hills.

Gibson Dunn continues to represent the governor’s office at a cost to taxpayers of $350 an hour.