Thursday, February 04, 2016

Chris Christie's office 'refusing to release Bridgegate emails'

Attorneys say they have discovered that New Jersey governor’s office withheld ‘critical documents’ related to bridge affair as case returns to court

Jon Swaine, The Guardian, Thursday 4 February 2016 07.15 EST 

Chris Christie’s office is refusing to release emails and documents dating from the week of the “Bridgegate” scandal, it has been alleged, as the case returns to court just days before the New Hampshire primary on which the New Jersey governor has staked his presidential campaign.

Attorneys for a former Christie appointee who is battling criminal charges over the incident said in a court filing on Wednesday that they had “newly discovered” that the governor’s office had withheld “critical documents” originating from the days around the lane closures in September 2013 that gridlocked the town of Fort Lee.

Claims made by Christie’s lawyers for why these documents should be kept secret do not “pass the red face test”, according to the filing. Among the documents are emails between Christie’s press secretary Michael Drewniak and David Wildstein, a state official who has pleaded guilty to conspiracy, which were withheld on the basis of attorney-client privilege despite neither man being an attorney.

A spokesman for Christie did not respond to a request for comment.

The new allegations against Christie’s team were filed as a federal judge prepared to consider arguments in court in Newark on Friday including whether the New Jersey governor’s office should be forced to hand over thousands more emails and documents.

Attorneys for allies of the governor facing criminal charges over the Bridgegate saga are asking judge Susan Wigenton to compel prosecutors to obtain and hand over files such as Christie’s text messages, emails from his official account and any testimony he gave to a federal grand jury.

(More here.)

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