NJ Taxpayers Just Hired Another Lawyer for Christie

Matt Katz, WNYC | November 16, 2016 | Katz on Christie

New Jersey taxpayers just hired another lawyer for their governor. 

Gov. Chris Christie, who has already charged New Jersey $11.3 million for attorneys to represent his office in the federal Bridgegate investigation, has added legal representation for a related state criminal matter.

Craig Carpenito is earning $150-an-hour to defend Christie from a criminal complaint filed by a local activist in Bergen County. The complainant, Bill Brennan, alleges Christie engaged in official misconduct during Bridgegate, as evidenced by sworn testimony from David Wildstein, the admitted co-conspirator. Wildstein claims Christie knew about the dangerous lane closures.

Christie is appealing, but is currently scheduled to appear in court on Jan. 11. Carpenito is co-leader of the government and internal investigations division at his firm, Alston & Bird. His fees are capped at $10,000, a considerable discount from what partners at Christie’s other law firm, Gibson Dunn, bill for their continued work on the case.

Two weeks ago Christie’s spokesman failed to answer a question from WNYC about who was paying for Carpenito. But documents obtained via a public records request to the Attorney General’s Office laid out the agreement.