The New York Times reports that a probe into September's politically motivated bridge closings -- an investigation ordered by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) himself -- finds that the governor wasn't involved in the plot.
Here's the report:
Now, after 70 interviews and at least $1 million in legal fees to be paid by state taxpayers, that review is set to be released, and according to people with firsthand knowledge of the inquiry, it has uncovered no evidence that the governor was involved in the plotting or directing of the lane closings.
The review is the first of multiple inquiries into a scandal that has jeopardized Mr. Christie’s political future. It will be viewed with intense skepticism, not only because it was commissioned by the governor but also because the firm conducting it, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, has close ties to the Christie administration and the firm’s lawyers were unable to interview three principal players in the shutdowns, including Bridget Anne Kelly, the governor’s former deputy chief of staff.
But lawyers from the team who led the inquiry are prepared to vigorously defend their work, which they described as an unfettered look into the inner workings of an administration known to prize loyalty and privacy.
Randy M. Mastro, the lawyer leading the internal investigation, said that the level of cooperation from Mr. Christie’s office and the volume of records reviewed had allowed investigators to resolve the most pressing questions to arise from the scandal. The governor himself handed over his iPhone and telephone records and allowed the lawyers to search his government and private email accounts.
Needless to say, the fact that Christie himself asked for this probe will cause skepticism about its results, and there remain both a state legislative review and a federal one.
In other words: This is the first word rather than the last one when it comes to whether Christie was culpable. But for now, there remains no solid evidence implicating him in the plot, and he continues to offer blanket denials about the entire incident.