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Tag: governor

No Evidence Found to Prove NJ Gov. Christie Knew in Advance of Lane Closures on George Washington Bridge

Gov. Chris Christie/state photo

Chris Christie

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department has found no evidence that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie knew in advance of traffic lane closures on the George Washington Bridge, the New York Daily News reports.

The investigation is nine-months old, and no evidence has surfaced to suggest Christie was involved in what has brome known as the Bridgegate scandal.

The lane shutdowns caused serious problems for commuters.

It was later discovered that Christie’s staffer and a Port Authority officials were elated, raising questions about whether the shutdown was political payback for the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee not endorsing Christie.

Other Stories of Interest

 

Breaking: Ex-Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell and Wife Maureen Convicted of Public Corruption

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Former Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell, who had been mentioned as a vice presidential candidate at one time, was convicted Thursday in U.S. District Court in Richmond, Va., along with his wife Maureen, of public corruption and selling the office to a free spending Richmond businessman for golf outings, lavish vacations and $120,000 in sweetheart loans, the Washington Post reported.

Matt Zapotosky and Rosalind S. Helderman of the Post reported that a federal jury deliberated three days before serving up the verdict. Robert McDonnell was convicted of 11 counts and his wife,  nine.

The jury also acquitted the couple of several charges. 

The Post wrote:

 The verdict means that Robert McDonnell, who was already the first governor in Virginia history to be charged with a crime, now he holds an even more unwanted distinction: the first ever to be convicted of one. He and his wife face decades in federal prison, though their actual sentence will probably fall well short of that.

 

Column: Chicago’s U.S. Attorney Fitzgerald Will Return to Public Office: Count on It

Patrick Fitzgerald/doj photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Once in a while a U.S. Attorney comes along and makes a mark not only locally but nationally.

U.S. Patrick Fitzgerald of Chicago was one of those guys.

Fitzgerald resigned and left office last Friday, leaving behind a legacy that included prosecuting the ever-chatty ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich and Dick Cheney’s right hand guy Scooter Libby.

He left office, offering little reflection last week to the hungry media. He said he has no plans, but hopes to make a decision by Labor Day, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

Among the U.S. Attorney’s, he was rock star. In the public’s eye, he was a modern-day Eliot Ness.

Was he perfect? No. But he inspired faith in the system and that the good guys had a strong hand to fight crime and corruption.

He was in Chicago for 11 years as prosecutor.

Whatever he does next — even if it’s going to law firm —  ultimately it would be hard to believe that the 51-year-old won’t end up back in public service, be it as a federal judge or FBI director or governor.

Count on it.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

 

Column: Prosecutors May Be Overreaching in Recommending 15-20 Years for Blago

 

Allan Lengel

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

In political corruption cases, how much prison time is enough?

Fed prosecutors in the case of Rod Blagojevich — the world’s most talkative ex-governor — are recommending that he get 15 to 20 years at sentencing, which is set for Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Chicago.

Yes, Blagojevich was a crook with a stupid chip implanted somewhere in that brain of his underneath that helmet-head of hair. But I think a 15 to 20 year sentence is excessive.

What’s the point of piling on?

Blago, who turns 55 on Dec. 10, four days after sentencing, would be 75 by the time he got released from prison if he were to be sentenced to 20 years. If he gets 10 years, he’ll be 65 by the time he goes free.  It’s not as if, when he gets out, the public will be in danger.

A prison term in this case is supposed to provide sufficient punishment and act as a deterrent to other crooked-leaning pols.

I think 10 to 12 years, as a Chicago Sun-Times writer Mark Brown suggests, does the trick.

A sentence of 10-12 is enough to discourage some — certainly not all — crooked politicians from committing crimes.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

 

Column: What Does the Blago Verdict Mean for Chicago U.S. Atty. Patrick Fitzgerald?

Patrick Fitzgerald/doj photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Soon we’ll get the verdict in the Blago II trial and we’ll start to evaluate what it means for Chicago U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald. The jury begins the fifth day of deliberations on Thursday.

The first trial did not bode so well for Fitzgerald, the rock star among U.S. Attorneys. The jury convicted ex-Ill. Gov. Rod Blagojevich on only 1 of 24 counts — and that was for lying to the FBI. It wasn’t even a count central to the key charges of shaking down folks and trying to sell President Obama’s Senate seat.

Some argued it was still a victory — particularly those who know Fitzgerald well. They said a felony conviction is a felony conviction, even if it’s on just one count.

I disagree. I say in order for this to be considered a victory for Fitzgerald and his prosecutors, they have to get a conviction on a central count. A conviction on key counts would provide some vindication for Fitzgerald.

What would another embarrassing outcome mean for Fitzgerald?

Probably not a whole lot.

Another embarrassing outcome might tarnish his star power a little. But people forget. And he’s had a lot of big victories in big cases in Chicago. And no one can forget that he came to Washington for a stint as  a dragon slayer — as a special prosecutor —  and convicted Scooter Libby in 2007.

The first Blago trial may have hurt his chances when the White House was recently  considering a replacement for FBI Dir. Robert S. Mueller III (though that has become a moot point since President Obama now wants to keep Mueller on for two more years beyond the 10-year term).

Interestingly, FBI agents who, in general, prefer an ex-agent as a director rather than a prosecutor — seemed Ok with Fitzgerald as a potential replacement.

Nonetheless, the talk inside the Beltway was that the White House wasn’t wild about  the swagger — very Eliot Ness like — that he displayed before the media  when he first announced the charges against Blago in December 2008.

The swagger along with the embarrassing outcome didn’t help. This White House seems to like Robert Mueller’s low-key, fly-under-the-radar style.

So in the end, whatever the outcome in Blago II, Fitzgerald will remain the U.S. Attorney in Chicago.

And frankly, whatever the outcome,  the Blago case won’t short circuit many of his options in the future –including, who knows, even  a run for governor, the office once held by Blago himself.

N.J. Gov. Christie Loads Up Administration With Former Fed Prosecutors

Christopher Christie/campaign photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Ex-Assistant U.S. Attorneys seem to have found a new home with New Jersey Gov. Christopher Christie.

The Asbury Press reports that Christie, who was the U.S. Attorney in Newark from from 2002 though 2008, has appointed more than two dozen former federal prosecutors to his administration or State Superior Court. Nearly 20 worked directly for him.

Montclair State University political scientist Brigid Harrison told the Asbury Press that the move gives the image that the Christie administration is for clean government.

“The most obvious advantage is that there is a public perception that prosecutors are squeaky clean. And in a state with a reputation for corruption like New Jersey has, that offers voters and Gov. Christie a certain degree of credibility and legitimacy that comes automatically,” Harrison told the paper.

To read more click here.

Trial: Blago Wanted to Cash in For a Lot of Money

Blago Begins Round 2: Has No Intention to Seek Plea

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