The lawyers that cleared New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) in the George Washington Bridge scandal haven’t come cheap.
Documents released Tuesday show that Christie’s office was billed nearly $1.1 million for work done from Jan. 12 to Jan. 31 by the law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher — meaning that the total amount taxpayers will pay the firm will likely be significantly higher. The Bergen Recorded reported that the $1,077,785 in charges includes more than 3,000 hours’ worth of work and $1,693 for photocopying. The Christie administration announced in January that it had hired Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher to conduct an internal review of the scandal and to help Christie’s office respond to the federal investigation into the lane closures. In late March, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher attorney Randy Mastro announced the results of the internal investigation, which found that Christie had not participated in the plan to close the lanes.
According to the newly released billing statements, 38 Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher employees worked on the case in January, with all but one billing the state of New Jersey at a rate of $350 an hour. That figure is significantly lower than the $650-an-hour the administration originally said it would pay Mastro (and even that number, $650, was a discount from Mastro’s normal rate.) In a letter to the state dated May 1, the law firm explained why it had charged at a reduced rate.
“We did this because the volume of work and related costs on this matter have far exceeded what was originally anticipated,” the firm said, according to The Record.
According to the Record, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher’s agreement with the state calls for the submission of monthly invoices.