Andrew Napolitano: Christie Has 'Painted Himself into a Corner'

Thursday, 16 Jan 2014 04:30 PM

By Bill Hoffmann

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It's "inconceivable" that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie wasn't aware of the bridge-gate scandal earlier than he claims, former New Jersey Superior Court Judge Andrew Napolitano believes.

"He painted himself into a corner with that epic press conference last week,' Napolitano, an author and senior judicial analyst for Fox News, told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.

"His denials were so certain and severe and all-encompassing and watertight, that the slightest little bit of evidence to show he knew about this and encouraged it or ordered it or looked to the other way and he'll be cooked as the national candidate, and perhaps even forced from office."

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Emails released to the press revealed that Christie's top aides masterminded the closing of access lanes to the George Washington Bridge in September for political payback — an action that caused four days of horrific traffic tie-ups and slowed emergency vehicles.

Christie, who was the front-runner for the next GOP presidential nomination, claims his staff lied to him about their culpability in the closings and has apologized for the scandal.

But Napolitano says there are key questions regarding two top Port Authority officials who resigned in the wake of the scandal that should have been asked of Christie during his nearly two-hour press conference.

"Governor, you have known Sen. Bill Baroni for 10 or 12 years. You appointed him as the number two person at the Port Authority . . . the fourth highest paying job in government in New Jersey. He makes twice what you do, and suddenly he quits and you didn't ask him why? He gave testimony under oath, which now appears false. You didn't ask him the origin of this lane changing?" he said.

"I would have asked the same questions of him with respect to [former senior Port Authority official] David Wildstein."

In addition, Napolitano says Christie should have grilled David Samson, chairman of the Port Authority.

"[He's] a very well-respected lawyer, founder of a fine law firm, former attorney general of New Jersey, [and] talks to Gov. Christie five or six times a day and is involved in many of these emails complaining that Patrick Foye, the director of the Port Authority, is leaking things about the inner decisions to close down those lanes.

"You're trying to tell us that you didn’t speak to him either? It's inconceivable you didn't know what was going on."

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