Tensions boil over between Christie and Cohen

WASHINGTON – It took about an hour for today’s hearing to erupt into fireworks. Sign Up For Our Daily Newsletter

WASHINGTON – It took about an hour for today’s hearing to erupt into fireworks.

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U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) told Republican gubernatorial candidate Chris Christie that no companies that entered into DPAs turned down monitors because, as U.S. Attorney, he “made them an offer they couldn’t refuse.”

Christie, who has said that all the companies were given options and approved of the monitor selections, said that Cohen "was not in the room" for the deal with Zimmer and took offense at the Godfather-inspired comment.

“First of all, it’s an ethnically sensitive comment to an Italian-American,” said Christie. “…I don’t appreciate the implications you’re making.”

Cohen responded that he “had no idea” that Christie was Italian-American.

Cohen then went on to question Christie about the email exchanges in which a lawyer for a company that entered into a DPA complained of high fees from the monitor, former Attorney General John Ashcroft. Cohen asked why Christie did not intervene.

“I told him in my emails to go back, and I also told the Ashcroft Group to go back and resolve any differences thy have regarding fees without intervention from the office. If they did not, I would have intervened.”

Tensions boil over between Christie and Cohen