Jersey Legislator Questions Christie Role In Prosecutions

By Andrew Kreig / Director's Blog

A New Jersey state senator wants to learn whether New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie hired an admitted documented fabricator for a plush political job as a reward for court testimony helping Christie, below left, win his state’s governorship in 2009.

I’ll be a guest on Bob Carson’s “Carson’s Corner” radio show Monday on WRRC 107.7 FM in New Jersey discussing the importance of the demand Friday by Democratic State Sen. Loretta Weinberg of Teaneck, N.J. She wants the Christie administration documents that show why his team appointed John W. Crosbie to a $110,000-per-year state job even though Crosbie had admitted fabricating documents earlier in his career. Crosbie’s admission of fraud while working at a New Jersey university helped him win immunity in a deal enabling his testimony against a former Democratic state senator. That conviction bolstered Christie’s reputation as a crime-fighting U.S. attorney worthy of the governorship.

“Nobody got hired for a $110,000 a year job in this administration who wasn’t vetted,” Newark’s Star-Ledger quoted Weinberg as saying of Crosbie. “This guy did not parachute from the land of Oz into a job.” The governor's team hired Crosbie to be executive director of three state commissions as executive director for three commissions on autism, spinal cord research and brain injury. Interest by Weinberg, the Star-Ledger and The Record in Bergen County represent a significant breakthrough. That’s because New Jersey politicians and most of the mainstream press have been reluctant to explore the seamy side of how Christie acquired a state and national reputations as a reformer. He did so in significant part by whitewashing his past as a wheeler-dealer U.S. attorney who used his prosecutorial powers ruthlessly during the Bush administration.

Christie escaped the Rove-inspired and now-notorious political purge of other U.S. attorneys in 2006 by prosecuting Democrats and lavishing benefits on fellow Republican cronies, as we at the Justice Integrity Project have documented in such columns as “Christie's Corruption Case Shows Horrid Legacy of 'Loyal Bushies' & Cover-ups” in December. Carson, host of what he describes as the state’s only FM talk radio program addressing politics from a progressive perspective, asked me to return during a segment approximate 3:40 (EST) Monday to discuss the implications of the latest revelations about the Republican governor’s rise to the top as a supposed reformer. If you can't listen live in Mercer County, all of the shows are stored at here. Our non-partisan Justice Integrity Project finds ample misconduct overlooked by the major media in the actions of both parties, as illustrated by our article Friday on how Republicans in 2009 implicated U.S. Attorney Gen. Eric Holder in rendition of suspects to Egypt for torture, with the implication that Holder would be exposed further if he sought to explore Bush-era misconduct too vigorously.

We have since documented how Holder, right, responded by overseeing whitewash probes of Bush political prosecutions and destruction of evidence by the CIA of torture. Under Holder, the Justice Department also has launched an unprecedented federal jihad against whistleblowers in government who might alert the media to lawbreaking by officials as we reported in “Whistleblower Says: Obama's DoJ Declares War on Whistleblowers.”

The latest revelations from New Jersey stem from a Star-Ledger political column describing how Crosbie landed a plum position with Christie’s administration after Christie, as U.S. Attorney, worked out a deal with him to testify against former Democratic state Sen. Wayne Bryant and former University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey Dean R. Michael Gallagher. Crosbie, then an official at the university, received immunity from prosecution for altering state records. He then helped Christie’s subordinates win corruption convictions against the defendants for creating what the paper calls a “low-show” job at the university in return for steering millions of dollars in state contracts.

Two days after the Star-Ledger began inquiring about the circumstances of Crosbie’s hiring he resigned, the newspaper reported, saying that the Christie’s spokesman declines comment on the reasons. The Record summed up developments. As governor, Christie has surrounded himself with more than a dozen aides from the federal prosecution office, including his successor, while basking in favorable publicity for supposedly operating as a reformer. But the last two trials of the mega-case he and his successor initiated have resulted in acquittals and another major prosecution is foundering because of a judicial ruling that federal prosecutors exceeded their authority when they tried to expand on their own initiative federal bribery law to include candidates, not simply elected officials.

Nonetheless, Democratic U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman has continued vigorously to prosecute the cases and defend the actions of Christie and his successors.  Fishman is, in effect, following both law enforcement traditions of sticking together against any criticism and upholding the Obama mantra of “looking forward, not backward” in terms of investigating official misconduct. Whether the questions being raised by Weinberg will resonate in this environment remains an open question. Certainly most New Jersey politicians of both major parties have done next to nothing to probe one of the startling abuses of authority we’ve seen in any of the 50 states.

Contact the author Andrew Kreig or comment