- Gibson Dunn report on bridge scandal is said to cost $1M; did taxpayers get their money’s worth?
Gibson Dunn report on bridge scandal is said to cost $1M; did taxpayers get their money’s worth?
Posted Mar 25, 2014 11:24 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss
A report by Gibson Dunn & Crutcher on the New Jersey bridge scandal has yet to be released, but the debate has already begun on its value.
The New York Times reported on Monday that the report found no evidence that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was involved in lane closings on the George Washington Bridge that caused traffic gridlock. The newspaper based its report on sources familiar with the report. Lead lawyer Randy Mastro wouldn’t confirm any details, but he told the Times that Christie’s office cooperated with the probe and there was no incentive to sugarcoat the findings. Democrats have claimed the lanes were closed in an act of political retaliation.
Gibson Dunn charged $650 an hour, for a total legal bill of at least $1 million, the Times says. The bill will be paid by state taxpayers.
Christie’s office says the lawyers were given “unfettered access” to office staff and documents with a mandate to get to the truth, the New Jersey Star-Ledger reports. But some Democratic lawmakers are questioning whether the report is a complete investigation, according to the Star-Ledger and the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.).
Gibson Dunn questioned more than 70 people, including the governor. But Gibson Dunn was unable to interview three key figures, including Bridget Anne Kelly, the governor’s former deputy chief of staff who wrote the “time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee” email.
Assemblyman John Wisniewsk, D-Middlesex, is co-chair of the legislative committee investigating the bridge closings. "It does not include information from Ms. Kelly; it can’t be a complete investigation," he told the Star-Ledger. Others have also expressed concern that the report will hamper inquiries by the legislature and federal prosecutors, the Wall Street Journal says.
ABAJournal.com: "Lawyer for former Christie loyalist contests NJ governor’s account in traffic-jam scandal"
ABAJournal.com: "Gibson Dunn to represent NJ Gov. Chris Christie’s office amidst ongoing probe of traffic jam scandal"