The New Jersey bridge traffic scandal is a noteworthy federal inquiry that came to the forefront of the news in the early half of 2014. Also known as the Fort Lee lane closure scandal or the George Washington Bridge lane closure scandal.
The scandal involves New Jersey Governor and presidential hopeful Chris Christie, where it is believed by some that his staff and political appointees collaborated to create traffic jams in Fort Lee by closing lanes at the toll plaza to the George Washington Bridge, resulting in massive backup and gridlock that could have endangered lives as local officials and emergency services were not notified of the closure. It is theorized that these lane closures were retaliation against Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich for not endorsing Christie in the 2013 gubernatorial election.
According to Kendall Coffey in an interview with Al Sharpton, if the scandal was deemed important enough to warrant a subpoena from a U.S. Attorney it means that the case was deemed significant by the Justice Department.
At a very high level, determination has been made that is there is federal criminal jurisdiction if allegations and information that is being review candidate be proven. As Coffey went on to explain, this means that the case was being discussed on a level that exceeded that of a simple review. That by itself is a major development because now we`re not just talking about a legislative committee. And that`s serious business, or even the threat of state prosecution, which is certainly plenty to worry about.
With such an investigation starting, Coffey went on to discuss the idea that no matter how the investigation ended up, it was not going to end any time soon. To the contrary, it’s feeling like the floodgate is opening investigatively on bridge gate.
Drawing on his experience as a U.S. attorney, Coffey went on to discuss the idea that the U.S. attorneys office doesn’t simply issue subpoenas because someone thinks a law was violated somewhere, but rather because they have several different statutes that they believe may have been violated.
For sure this is not the most obvious federal crime we`ve ever seen. But believe me, this is beyond just wondering and wishing and hoping. They`ve got some definite theories in mind. They simply have to see on the facts crystallize.
Coffey and Sharpton also discussed the fact that David Wildstein’s attorney mentioned to the media that if he has immunity from the relevant entities, he’ll talk. According to Kendall Coffey, this seemed like a signaling maneuver inviting the two different jurisdictions to offer him immunity, as he might have things to say that were of interest.
In a later interview with Rachel Maddow,Kendall Coffey discussed the case as it moved into the new phase of bringing witnesses before a grand jury. This was especially interesting as Chris Christie had just released a report that he claimed he was exonerated and had held his first press conference on the matter, claiming that the whole matter was behind him and he was happy to have it behind him. But new developments a week later had members of his staff testify before a federal grand jury in Newark after being subpoenaed.
As Kendall Coffey put it, â€œno matter where Governor Christie might have thought this stood last week I think we can agree that this is serious business and seriously frightening for someone who thinks that they are in the target area of this investigation.