This post has been updated.
In an overwhelming display of lawlerly muscle, Governor Chris Christie and his $650-per-hour attorneys from Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher—led by the chief attorney hired by Christie, Randy Mastro, a former aide to Rudy Giuliani—released a 300-page-plus report, backed by 610 supporting documents and more than 1,000 footnotes saying that the New Jersey governor is innocent of all charges.
Mastro, who once served as Giuliani’s chief of staff and as deputy mayor for operations, then held a lengthy news conference to take questions on the report’s conclusions.
Ironically, several of the people mixed up in the lane-closing scandal at the George Washington Bridge—and who were extensively investigated by Mastro’s team—also worked for Giuliani, including Bridget Anne Kelly and Bill Stepien. (Christie and Giuliani have a close relationship, and the New Jersey governor has drawn a number of top aides from Giuliani’s team, including from his failed presidential bid, among them Maria Comella, his communications director; Mike DuHaime, a senior political adviser; Matt Mowers, the campaign aide who tried to get the mayor of Fort Lee to endorse Christie’s reelection and who is now the executive director of the New Hampshire Republican party; and Amanda DePalma, Christie’s former deputy campaign manager who now heads the New Jersey GOP.)
Taking advantage of what he hopes is positive momentum coming out of the release of the Mastro report, Christie will appear on ABC World News Tonight this evening, answering questions from Diane Sawyer. The New Jersey governor hasn’t taken press questions or held a new conference since January 9, eleven weeks ago.
The fact that the report was commissioned and paid for by Christie, and carried out by a team of loyalists—though Mastro was at pains during the news conference to stress the fact that he’s a Democrat who’s also worked for Mayor Bill DeBlasio—will mean that it’s conclusions will be suspect, at least until the other inquiries are concluded. Both the US attorney’s office in New Jersey, under Paul Fishman, and a joint committee of the legislature are investigating Bridgegate, the Port Authority and allegations of misuse of Sandy aid.