How Chris Christie dealt with a blogging prosecutor
Posted Jan 14, 2014 6:47 AM CST
By Debra Cassens Weiss
Above the Law founder David Lat once wrote for a different blog he created called Underneath Their Robes.
Lat wrote under a pseudonym on his blog about federal judges because he worked as a prosecutor. His boss was Chris Christie.
When Lat revealed he was the author of Underneath Their Robes in a November 2005 New Yorker interview, the scandal got picked up by major newspapers and the Drudge Report, Lat recalls in a post for Above the Law. The result was a demand appearance before Christie. How did the U.S. Attorney-turned governor deal with Lat?
“Chris Christie could have fired me for my online antics,” Lat says. “Even though I hadn’t blogged about any of my cases or revealed any confidences, I had certainly created an appearance of impropriety with my sometimes-snarky blogging about various judges. And I had violated the office’s media policy, by not clearing or even mentioning my New Yorker interview with anyone.”
Lat offered his resignation, but it was not accepted. “Christie responded graciously and with forgiveness, saying that he did not want my resignation,” Lat writes. “He had mentioned my situation to the Department of Justice powers that be in D.C., who told him that it was his call as to what to do with me, and it was his wish that I remain in the office. He told me that I had been doing very good work as an AUSA and that we should go back to business as usual.” Still, it was understood that Lat would not continue his blogging.
Lat missed writing, and he left to pursue his writing career early the next year. “At the time that I left the office, Christie was exceedingly kind—much kinder than I had any right to expect,” Lat says. “He said that if I tried out the writing thing for a few months and decided I didn’t like it, I’d always be welcome back” as long as Christie was U.S. Attorney.