Friday, July 8, 2016

Guess what popped up in New Jersey? Christie's cell phone

Gov. Chris Christie. Lawyers for two of Mr. Christie’s former allies believe his cellphone
contains clues about others’ involvement in the George Washington Bridge case.
Photo credit; Win Mcnamee/Getty Images

Well, what do you know. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's missing cell phone that's dragged the embarrassment of Bridgegate back into the headlines at a time when Donald Trump is considering Christie as a vise presidential running mate -- has been found! 

Reporting the details of this only-in-New Jersey political
story in the New York Times is Patrick McGeehan:

NEWARK — After weeks of shrugs and head-scratching, one of the more perplexing mysteries of the investigation into the infamous traffic jam at the George Washington Bridge has been solved: Gov. Chris Christie’s lawyer has the governor’s cellphone.

The whereabouts of Mr. Christie’s cellphone had been the subject of much deliberation as lawyers prepared for the Sept. 12 trial of two of Mr. Christie’s former allies for their roles in an alleged scheme to tie up traffic at the bridge. Mr. Christie has said that he turned the phone over to lawyers who conducted an internal investigation into the plot and that he never got it back.

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On Thursday, a federal judge in Newark quashed the efforts of lawyers for the defendants to obtain the phone or its contents. The hearing, before Judge Susan D. Wigenton of United States District Court, lasted more than two hours and shed no light on who had the phone, leaving defense lawyers scrambling to locate it.

Michael Baldassare, a lawyer defending Bill Baroni, a former executive of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, said he believed the phone might contain clues about the involvement of others in the scheme. One of Mr. Baroni’s associates at the Port Authority, David Wildstein, pleaded guilty to conspiring to tie up traffic in Fort Lee, N.J., to punish that town’s Democratic mayor for not endorsing Mr. Christie, a Republican, for re-election in 2013.

The only other people who have been charged in connection with the scheme are Mr. Baroni — whom Mr. Christie had appointed to a top executive position at the Port Authority — and Bridget Anne Kelly, who was one of the governor’s aides in Trenton.

“The harder they fight to not let us see it, the more I think is on it,” Mr. Baldassare said after the hearing, referring to Mr. Christie’s phone. “I think it’s more likely I will be dead of old age before anybody willingly lets me see the governor’s cellphone.”

Mr. Baldassare said he would issue subpoenas to the governor’s personal lawyers and some of his former aides, demanding that they produce their cellphones at trial. Christopher Wray, a partner at King & Spalding and a former federal prosecutor, has represented Mr. Christie in the case.

Randy M. Mastro, right, a partner at the firm representing Mr. Christie, outside the federal courthouse in Newark on Thursday. Photo Credit: Julio Cortez/Associated Press 

A spokesman for the governor replied “yes” when asked on Thursday evening if Mr. Wray had the cellphone. Mr. Wray did not respond to requests for confirmation.

The riddle of what had become of Mr. Christie’s phone swirled just as supporters of Donald J. Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, awaited his decision on a running mate. Mr. Christie is believed to be on a short list of candidates whom Mr. Trump is considering.

Read the full story here

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