The End? Or Gossip in Search of a Story?
Esquire is citing anonymous sources on Thursday with “intimate knowledge” who claim a second grand jury has been convened to investigate the events surrounding Bridgegate, Save Jerseyans, and that U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman’s office is working hard to tie Governor Chris Christie to the carnage:
“Federal charges in the bridge closures potentially include both intentional interference in interstate commerce and — in the cover-up that ensued — obstruction of justice. The use of Port Authority money, raised by issuing bonds, to pay for non-PA projects will likely result in charges of securities fraud and conspiracy to commit same; the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is also investigating on this front, along with the Manhattan District Attorney, who’s seeking evidence to support state charges of falsifying business records and official misconduct. Charges derived from David Samson’s numerous conflicts of interest while serving as a PA official could, in Hoboken’s case, include federal charges of extortion under the Hobbs Act, and New York state charges of official misconduct and corruption.“
Sounds ugly, right? The only problem is that there aren’t any details provided regarding what they might have on the Big Guy, enabling them to “close in,” only an anonymous source’s insistence that they’ve “got him cold.” Whatever it could be isn’t in the public record (yet). I mean, Bob Menendez has been under investigation, off or on, for years according to mainstream media outlet’s sources.
How’s that going?
The Esquire article’s first hook – that the U.S. Attorney is eyeing Chris Christie – isn’t exactly news. Of course he’s looking at Chris Christie! Any prosecutor worth their salt would try to lean on lieutenants to learn new information that could lead to other indictments further up the chain.
That being said, the bar for an actual grand jury indictment (distinguished from a criminal conviction) isn’t overly high. What would be news is if former state Senator Bill Baroni and NY/NJ Port Authority official David Wildstein have, in fact, “flipped” on Christie confidant David Samson.
Until we know more, Save Jerseyans, there’s no way to confirm whether there’s truly fire associated with this smoke or, alternatively, we’re looking at gossip during a slow news cycle designed to keep a flagging traffic-driving story above the fold.
Someone please call me when we do have something tangible. Or when the Justice Department finds Lois Lerner’s emails.