Federal prosecutors in New Jersey will announce a development later today in their nearly 16-month-old investigation into the George Washington Bridge lane closures, they said this morning.
The office said there will be a "proceeding of interest in a criminal matter" related to the bridge probe at 11 a.m. before U.S. District Judge Susan D. Wigenton in Newark followed by a press conference with federal authorities at 1 p.m. to discuss developments in the case.
Bloomberg News has reported that former Christie crony David Wildstein is set to plead guilty to criminal charges in the matter, leading to speculation that Samson is going to cooperate with federal prosecutors in the case.
Wildstein's lawyer has said previously that Wildstein has "evidence" that Christie knew of the lane closures at the GWB as they were happening, something that contradicts Christie's public statements that he only learned about the matter from news accounts.
In addition, Bloomberg News reported that federal prosecutors are looking at bribery/extortion charges for another Christie crony, former Port Authority chairman David Samson:
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in New Jersey is investigating whether United employees made improper attempts to influence Samson at the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, according to people familiar with the investigation. The authority oversees Newark Liberty International Airport.
Although many details of the discussions between United and the authority remain unknown, documents reviewed by Bloomberg News indicate there may have been a direct link between the request for the Columbia flight and the Port Authority’s process of approving projects involving the airport. They raise the possibility of bribery or extortion, according to legal experts who reviewed the information in the documents.
In considering whether laws were broken, the intentions of Samson and United will be important, according to former prosecutors and others, none of them them involved in the case. For bribery-related violations, prosecutors must show a quid pro quo -- or specific intent to give or receive something of value in exchange for an official act.
If prosecutors believe a crime was committed, they must then determine whether to treat the Newark-Columbia route as a shakedown or a bribe, said Daniel Richman, a Columbia University law school professor and a former federal prosecutor.
I wonder what Christie's thinking this morning?