Christie hires Giuliani associate to lead inquiry into bridge scandal
New Jersey governor turns to lawyer to examine role played by aides in lane closures
New Jersey governor Chris Christie greets women taking part in an exercise class in Manahawkin, New Jersey yesterday. Photograph: Lucas Jackson/Reuters
New Jersey governor Chris Christie has hired a long- time associate of former New York City mayor Rudolph Guiliani to lead an internal investigation into the role his senior aides played in orchestrating lane closures on America’s busiest bridge in an act of political vengeance.
Randy Mastro, an assistant US attorney under Mr Guiliani in New York, will lead the investigation at Mr Christie’s office into the reasons behind the lane closings on the New Jersey side of the George Washington Bridge.
The closure of the lanes in September, which gridlocked schoolbuses, emergency vehicles and hundreds of thousands of commuters, was arranged in response to the refusal of the town’s Democratic mayor to support Mr Christie’s re-election.
The governor’s office announced Mr Mastro’s appointment saying that the lawyer would co-operate with “other appropriate inquiries” two days after the Republican governor apologised again for the ‘Bridgegate’ scandal in his annual state of the state speech to New Jersey’s assembly.
Mr Christie and Mr Giuliani have been friends for some time.
Mr Mastro works for the law firm of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, which has served as private counsel for New Jersey’s governor.
A bipartisan committee, led by a Democratic assemblyman John Wisniewski, plans to subpoena Mr Christie’s staff, appointees and campaign managers whose names surfaced in emails and text messages showing they organised the lane closures.
Mr Giuliani has strongly defended the Republican governor, standing behind his denials that he knew nothing about the political motivation behind the lane closures.
The former New York mayor accused Democrats and the news media of over-playing the controversy because of Mr Christie’s leading position to become the Republican presidential nomination in 2016.