Christie’s departure dead could be based on Bryant verdict

Attorneys in the federal corruption trial of former State Sen. Wayne Bryant finished their closing arguments on Friday, and jurors will return today to continue their deliberation. Republican sources say that this might be U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie’s final case — one option the federal prosecutor is reportedly considering is to announce his resignation shortly after the Bryant verdict and leave office about two weeks later. Christie is considered a likely candidate for the 2009 Republican nomination for Governor.

If Christie leaves earlier than January 20, 2009 — when U.S. Attorney’s traditionally offer their resignations to incoming administrations — the Bush Justice Department will name someone to run the office on an acting basis. The Obama-run Justice Department would have the option of naming their own Acting U.S. Attorney until a permanent appointment is made, although that could take about four months after Christie’s temporary successor takes the reigns.

A guilty verdict in the Bryant case would allow Christie to leave office after seven years with a 100% record: no public official charged by his office has ever been acquitted. Christie has obtained a guilty plea or guilty verdict in each case.