After “Bridgegate” failed to materialize into bringing down the feisty New Jersey Governor, it appears Chris Christie will be fighting off another federal probe into criminal wrongdoing within his administration. This case reaches back about four years but is significant because it could further derail Chrstie’s presidential hopes if it drags him into the mud.
Report from the International Business Times:
Federal law enforcement officials have launched a criminal investigation of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and members of his administration, pursuing allegations the governor and his staff broke the law when they quashed grand jury indictments against Christie supporters, International Business Times has learned.
Two criminal investigators from the U.S. Department of Justice on Wednesday interviewed the man who leveled those charges, Bennett Barlyn. He was fired from the Hunterdon County prosecutor’s office in August 2010, and subsequently brought a whistleblower lawsuit against the Christie administration, claiming he had been punished for objecting to the dismissal of the indictments of the governor’s supporters for a range of corrupt activities.
Barlyn told IBTimes that he met with the federal investigators at his Pennsylvania home for more than an hour on Wednesday afternoon. He said they specifically focused on why Christie’s then-attorney general, Paula Dow, had moved to expunge the indictments. The investigators are examining what state and federal laws may have been broken in the process. Barlyn said the investigators appeared to be at an exploratory stage, with no certainty that criminal charges would ultimately be filed. The meeting followed a June letter to Barlyn from New Jersey’s U.S. Attorney, Paul Fishman, instructing Barlyn to be in touch with his office’s investigative team about the case.
The New Jersey U.S. Attorney’s office declined to comment. Christie has denied any involvement in Barlyn’s termination, while maintaining that he does not even know the men and women he has been accused of aiding. The governor’s office did not respond to a request for comment.
It’s entirely possible this investigation will go nowhere or end up clearing Christie of any criminal behavior so it remains to be seen whether this will affect the presidential landscape. You can be Jeb Bush is watching this one very closely.