An internal review of the George Washington Bridge lane closures is reportedly set to be released, and the news on its face is good for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
The New York Times got advance word of the results of the review, which was conducted by high-priced lawyers at Christie’s behest. The final tally: 70 interviews, at least $1 million in legal fees to be paid by taxpayers, and no evidence that the Republican governor was involved in the plotting or orchestrating of the lane closures.
The Times pointed out two caveats. For one, the firm that conducted the investigation, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, has known ties to the Christie administration. Second, the lawyers that conducted the investigation were unable to interview the three key players at the heart of the scandal: former Christie deputy chief of staff Bridget Kelly, former Christie campaign manager Bill Stepien, and former Port Authority of New York and New Jersey executive David Wildstein.
But Randy Mastro, the prominent defense attorney who led the investigation, called the review “comprehensive and exhaustive,” suggesting its findings will be contrasted with investigations being conducted by state lawmakers and the U.S. attorney in New Jersey.
“At the end of the day, we will be judged by whether we got this right,” Mastro said.
People “familiar with report” told the Times that it will address what Christie and his aides knew about the lane closures, and when they knew it. (The lane closures caused a massive, multi-day traffic jam in Fort Lee, N.J. in September, and many have speculated about the political motivations that prompted the closures.) The review will be delivered to Christie, who has promised to make the findings public, according to the Times. Spokespeople for Christie did not immediately respond to requests for comment from TPM on Monday.