U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman: Based On The Evidence That Is Currently Available To Us, We’re Not Going To Charge Anybody Else In This Scheme
Governor Chris Christie’s Office released the following statement in response to today’s guilty plea by David Wildstein, the indictments of former Port Authority Deputy Executive Director Bill Baroni and Bridget Ann Kelly, Christie’s former Deputy Chief of Staff, as well as U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman’s press conference:
Governor Christie has said from day one that he had no knowledge or involvement in the planning, motivation, authorization or execution of the decision to realign lanes on the George Washington Bridge. After fifteen months and three independent investigations, including those conducted by a partisan, Democratic-led joint committee and an outside law firm, that conclusion remains unchanged.
- The key facts that came to light in the first quarter of 2014 have not changed in any material way, more than a year later. The individuals alleged to be responsible and facing charges today are David Wildstein, Bill Baroni and Bridget Kelly, and they were all separated from the Port Authority and the Governor’s Office more than 15 months ago.
- Today’s charges allege that these three individuals voluntarily conspired in the initial act and then orchestrated a cover up. As U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman said today, “Based on the evidence that is currently available to us, we’re not going to charge anybody else in this scheme.”
- In March of 2014, the Mastro Report prepared by Gibson Dunn unequivocally found that Governor Christie did not know about the plan before it happened or the motivation behind it. That remains the case today. The Mastro Report’s other findings have not been contradicted by anything presented today
- The individuals facing criminal charges today should have a presumption of innocence and it is important now that the U.S Attorney’s office has done its work to let the justice system do its job.
Statement from Governor Christie On U.S. Attorney Fishman’s Announcement:
“Today’s charges make clear that what I’ve said from day one is true, I had no knowledge or involvement in the planning or execution of this act. The moment I first learned of this unacceptable behavior I took action, firing staff believed to be accountable, calling for an outside investigation and agreeing to fully cooperate with all appropriate investigations, which I have done. Now 15 months later it is time to let the justice system do its job.”
Statement from Randy Mastro of Gibson, Dunn, & Crutcher:
“There is nothing in today’s news that differs in any material way from what we reported more than a year ago when we issued the findings of our investigation of the GW Bridge lane realignment. We concluded then, and it remains the case today, that neither Governor Christie nor anyone else who remained on his staff had any involvement in or prior knowledge of the lane realignment. And we identified then as the likely responsible parties the very persons whom the U.S. Attorney’s Office has now charged. So today’s announcement confirming what we reported more than a year ago is a welcome affirmation of our findings.”
GOVERNOR CHRISTIE TOOK DECISIVE ACTION:
Governor Christie Stood Up, Apologized To The People Of New Jersey, And Took Every Single Question From The Media. The Governor held an exhaustive press conference, answering any and all questions concerning the incident for nearly two hours.
Governor Christie Took Responsibility And Implemented Reforms. The Governor took immediate action to remove those responsible, including firing Bridget Kelly on January 8th, 2014.
The Governor also implemented good government reforms for the office to ensure this sort of unacceptable practice never happens again. These reforms include:
- Brought in an Ombudsman and Chief Ethics Officer for the Office of the Governor.
- Disbanded the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs within the Governor’s Office that, at the time, had been headed by Bridget Kelly.
- Implemented mandatory ethics training for all Governor’s Office staff.
Governor Christie, As Well As Current And Former Members Of His Administration, Have Fully Cooperated With Three Separate and Independent Investigations.
- Governor Christie, Press Conference, 1/9/14: “Listen, I have absolutely nothing to hide. And I have not given any instruction to anyone yet, but my instruction to everybody will be to cooperate and answer questions.”
- The partisan legislative committed received tens of thousands of pages of documents and records from the Christie Administration and its employees, and no current member of the Christie Administration has refused to cooperate with the committee or respond to their requests for documents and/or testimony.
- Gibson Dunn conducted Individual interviews with more than 70 individuals inside and outside of state government, including Governor’s Office senior staff members and New Jersey officials at the Port Authority.