For two-and-a-half years, New Jersey governor Chris Christie has maintained that he provided federal investigators looking into the 2013 George Washington lane closures with complete access to both his personal and government email accounts. According to WNYC, however, new court filings show that this was not actually the case, supporting earlier allegations from two defendants indicted in the scheme that Christie’s lawyers destroyed and withheld evidence.
“I turned over my email, both professional and personal, to all of the investigators who asked for them. And said, ‘Look at whatever you want to look at,’” Christie said at a campaign event in New Hampshire last year, insisting that he, unlike Hillary Clinton, did not conduct government business on his personal account. (Christie was running for president at the time.) “I had a private email account, but I didn’t do my business on a private email account. She did everything on that account and then when she knows people are concerned about it, she gets the server cleaned.”
As it turns out, Christie shared a personal email account with his wife, Mary Pat, that was never searched. (The sender was “Chris and Mary Pat Christie.”) He sent at least one Bridgegate-related email from that account to Port Authority chairman David Samson. WNYC reports:
That email forwarded an article with the comment “per our earlier conversation” that discussed a phone conversation Christie had with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo concerning the lane closure investigation.
Christie’s own taxpayer-funded attorneys from the Gibson Dunn law firm, which has so far billed more than $10 million to the state, were in charge of responding to federal and legislative subpoenas seeking such emails. The lawyers simply ignored this account, even though Christie regularly used personal email accounts, including the one shared with his wife, for government business, sources say. He even used this account to email journalists concerning state business.
In court filings, Christie’s lawyers said that they had been aware of the account, “which we understood was not used by the Governor for official business and contained nothing responsive,” and, as such, had not searched it for responsive emails. His lawyers say they have since searched the account but found no emails “related to and contemporaneous with the lane realignment.”
Perhaps even more unbelievable is the issue of Christie’s cell phone, which he was carrying at the time of the lane closings, and which has now simply gone missing. Attorneys for the two indicted officials want to review the phone’s contents, as they believe texts the governor exchanged with ex-aide Regina Egea in December 2013 will be useful to their case.
Last month, Christie said his cell phone was “in the hands of the government...I don’t know exactly who has it. But I turned it over in response to a request from the government, as I said I would.” The US Attorney’s Office said that it doesn’t have the governor’s cell phone and never did, NJ Advance Media reports.
However, Christie’s lawyers told the court this week that they had reviewed the cell phone and its contents to determine whether it contained any records responsive to the government’s subpoena. After that was done, they said, the phone was returned to the governor. His lawyers have thus far refused to comply with the other defense attorneys’ requests to share those records.