Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

What Does Move By US Attorney In NJ Mean For Governor Andrew Cuomo?

From the Wall Street Journal:

New Jersey U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman has asked a legislative committee investigating the George Washington Bridge lane closures to hold off on calling nine important witnesses, according to people familiar with the matter.

The people Mr. Fishman wants to question first includes Mike DuHaime, a top political strategist for Gov. Chris Christie ; Charles McKenna, the governor's former chief counsel; Mark Sokolich, the Fort Lee, N.J. mayor who Democrats believe was punished with the lane closures after he didn't endorse Mr. Christie, and several current and former Port Authority of New York and New Jersey officials.


Mr. Fishman's requests to hold off on key individuals could mean that his criminal investigation is progressing. Prosecutors don't want witnesses to testify before the legislative committee until they come in to speak before investigators, according to a person familiar with the investigation.

Mr. Fishman's requests focused heavily on Port Authority officials. He asked the committee not to speak to the agency's executive director, Patrick Foye, a New York appointee who ended the lane closures when he discovered them, and Nicole Crifo, the governor's counsel in a unit devoted to public authorities.

Mr. Fishman had also said the committee needed to wait on the Port Authority's deputy executive director, Deborah Gramiccioni; Philip Kwon, the agency's deputy chief counsel who helped officials prepare for questioning from lawmakers; Philippe Danielides, a senior adviser to the authority's former chairman David Samson ; and the agency's police union president, Paul Nunziato.

The problems here for Christie are obvious.

Less obvious is what problems Christie's fellow Port Authority governor, Andrew M. Cuomo, may have with his PA officials talking to the US attorney in New Jersey.

 As Zack Fink wrote at Salon in May:

Another unwelcome development for the governor flew mostly under the radar, and has national implications. While the George Washington bridge scandal focused exclusively on the role of New Jersey governor Chris Christie, the bridge is controlled by a joint New York-New Jersey bi-state authority – and last week Cuomo’s hand-picked Executive Director of the Port Authority, Patrick Foye, was issued a subpoena by the New Jersey legislative committee investigating the flap.

Investigators believe there are omissions in the carefully crafted timeline put forth by the Cuomo Administration about what they knew about the lane closures, and how they responded. ”Lots of questions need to be asked to fill in the blanks,” the committee’s Co-Chair John Wisniewski told Salon.

In a worst-case scenario, Cuomo’s version of events could come under great scrutiny and cause a number of new political and legal headaches. In a best-case scenario, he can no longer simply wave off questions about the issue as merely a New Jersey problem – and his office’s communications may now be exposed to investigators.

Maybe Cuomo did everything on the up-and-up during and after the bridge closures.

But maybe he didn't.

And if he didn't and Foye is covering for him (as Fink writes he may be), Cuomo may not be so comfortable having his PA talk to the US attorney investigating Bridgegate.


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