Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Analysis: Fishman Demurral, Bridgegate Break Gives Christie An Opening

Gov. Chris Christie shrugged off Bridgegate as he crisscrossed Iowa like a presidential candidate. U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman dismissed reports of pending indictments as "almost entirely incorrect." And Regina Egea, Christie's choice for chief of staff, became the latest top administration official to testify under oath why she failed to properly investigate the controversial George Washington Bridge lane closures for months.

Analysis: Fishman Demurral, Bridgegate Break Gives Christie An Opening

Gov. Chris Christie shrugged off Bridgegate as he crisscrossed Iowa like a presidential candidate. U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman dismissed reports of pending indictments as “almost entirely incorrect.” And Regina Egea, Christie’s choice for chief of staff, became the latest top administration official to testify under oath why she failed to properly investigate the controversial George Washington Bridge lane closures for months.

It all made for yet another confusing day in the Bridgegate scandal that began last September with inexplicable four-hour traffic jams, was overshadowed in November by Christie’s landslide reelection, exploded into a national story in January that threatened to torpedo the governor's presidential ambitions, and now appears likely to fade into the shadows until one or more of the several criminal investigations into various Port Authority-related scandals reaches a conclusion.

“Look, this is not a Made-for-TV reality show,” Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D-Middlesex), cochair of the Joint Select Committee on Investigation said with a touch of exasperation after reporters asked what he had learned from Egea’s testimony. “People may want to take a long commercial break because it’s a little boring.”

Wisniewski dismissed yet another call by Christie’s chief defender, Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick (R-Union), for his committee to end its investigation. Wisniewski vowed that the panel would continue to pursue new leads -- including why neither Egea nor Christie turned over a December text message pertinent to Bridgegate, and which Port Authority police sergeant told Fort Lee’s police chief in September that the GWB lanes were closed because Fort Lee’s mayor refused to endorse Christie for reelection.

But Wisniewski said the investigatory committee has temporarily backed off its plan to call a dozen additional witnesses this summer, notably Charles McKenna, Christie’s chief counsel during Bridgegate, and Paul Nunziato, then the president of the Port Authority police union.

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