Prosecutor of Illinois' Blagojevich Joins Christie Probe

Image: Prosecutor of Illinois' Blagojevich Joins Christie Probe

Wednesday, 15 Jan 2014 06:33 PM

By Cynthia Fagen

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A former federal prosecutor who put corrupt former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich behind bars was hired Wednesday by the New Jersey General Assembly as special counsel in the expanding bridge-gate investigation that has embroiled Gov. Chris Christie, PolitickerNJ reported.

Reid Schar joins the Assembly's newly created committee investigating the politically motivated lane closings of the George Washington Bridge and whether Christie knew anything about the scheme. The governor has vehemently denied any involvement.

Shar is a partner at the Chicago-based law firm Jenner & Block LLP, which specializes in white-collar crimes, PolitickerNJ reported. The former U.S. attorney was the lead investigator and prosecutor working under U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald in both corruption trials of Blagojevich.

The first was a mistrial in 2009. While awaiting his second trial, Blogojevich appeared on NBC's "Celebrity Apprentice."
 
He was ultimately found guilty of multiple corruption charges, most notably trying to sell the Illinois Senate seat vacated by Barack Obama when he became president. He was sentenced to 14 years in prison.

"It's vital to have someone of the caliber of Mr. Schar joining us in this effort," Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto, D-Hudson/Bergen, told PolitickerNJ. "A potential misuse of taxpayer resources for political purposes is a serious matter that requires an astute legal eye with experience in this realm to help guide the process."

"I look forward to working with Mr. Schar as the committee ramps up its investigation into these concerns about public safety and abuse of power," said committee Chairman John Wisniewski, D-Middlesex. "Mr. Schar's experience will help build upon the progress we've made and help ensure that, in the end, we get the answers we need to find out what truly happened here so that we can institute safeguards to prevent future abuses."

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