By Brenda Flanagan
It’s a legal traffic jam. John Doe’s angling to avoid the scarlet “B” for Bridgegate — the alleged scheme to close lanes to the George Washington Bridge for political revenge. Doe’s real name is on U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman’s coveted list of unindicted Bridgegate co-conspirators. He initially convinced a federal judge to postpone that list’s scheduled release today, arguing in a last-minute motion that he’d be “publicly branded a felon without due process of law, causing him immediate and irreparable reputational harm.”
“It’s outrageous, really,” said attorney Bruce Rosen.
Rosen represents 13 media outlets — including NJTV — that had convinced federal Judge Susan Wigenton that the public has a right to know the names of public employees connected to the Bridgegate scandal.
“Who was involved around the governor, or within state government, or within the Port Authority that was involved in the conspiracy, according to the government. That’s what we’re trying to get,” Rosen said.
He called Doe’s suit “frivolous”, but Doe’s motion argued that unveiling his real name “…has no bearing on the legal or factual issues in the Government’s criminal case” and that the media’s interest was self-serving, “… for purposes of sensationalizing the misleading inferences that will be gleaned from Doe’s status as an ‘unindicted co-conspirator’… ”
“An unindicted co-conspirator is unindicted,” Rosen said. “That means that the government found that there’s not enough evidence to indict him. Which means that he’s not a criminal, so I don’t know what the fuss is.”
Rosen says Doe should’ve filed his motion months ago. Instead, it was filed last night by Jenny Kramer — a former Assistant U.S. Attorney in New Jersey hired, interestingly, by Christie when he ran that office. Christie has steadfastly denied any knowledge of Bridgegate.
When asked if he’s on the list of unindicted co-conspirators he said, “I don’t believe so, but no one knows until they actually put the list out. But I find it highly doubtful that I’ll be on that list given I didn’t know what was going on.”
The governor says, former staffers Bridget Ann Kelly and Bill Baroni went rogue. They’re both scheduled to stand trial in the Bridgegate case this September. Christie’s former Port Authority appointee David Wildstein — who’s already pleaded guilty — claims Christie did know. It’s awkward timing for Christie who now leads presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump’s transition team.
Late today the judge ruled against Doe saying he’d filed too late. Kramer has said she’d appeal the ruling.
The judge set a new deadline — this coming tuesday — to release the list.