NJ Politics Digest: Christie’s Gone, But State’s Bridgegate Bill Keeps Growing

Gov. Chris Christie.

Former Gov. Chris Christie. Alyana Alfaro for Observer.

It’s been almost four months since former Gov. Chris Christie left office, but the state’s taxpayers continue paying for legal bills related to the George Washington Bridge traffic jam scandal.

A report by the Associated Press says the total billed to taxpayers now tops $15 million and notes that the costs could continue to climb. That’s because digital records must be preserved while Bill Baroni, the former deputy executive director at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and Bridget Kelly, Christie’s former deputy chief of staff, appeal their federal convictions on charges related to the 2013 scheme to create a massive traffic jam on the bridge.

The state’s Bridgegate bill includes about $700,000 on data forensics that firm Stroz Friedberg billed the state in 2017 and the more than $60,000 it has billed during the current year, according to the AP report.

A spokesman for the attorney general’s office, said the Stroz Friedberg billing, which totals $4.1 million, was as a result of state employees’ response to “subpoenas and investigations” by the state legislature and federal prosecutors. The 2017 and 2018 charges are for data hosting, according to the report.

Other Bridgegate bills paid by the state include $9.1 million to Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, for a report that found Christie wasn’t involved in the lane closures, and $2.1 million paid to the firm that employed Christie’s personal attorney.

Quote of the Day: “Obviously she thought that badge carried weight. The [Tenafly police] officers clearly let her know it meant nothing to them.” — Senate President Steve Sweeney, on Caren Turner’s use of a gold badge given to commissioners of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

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NJ Politics Digest: Christie’s Gone, But State’s Bridgegate Bill Keeps Growing