Last week MSNBC trotted out Brian Thompson to sit with Steve Kornacki and talk about ‘imminent ‘ charges to 6 to 8 people connected with the lane closures….
That has NOT happened….
The New York Times is out with a piece today that seems to give insight into the actions of the US Attorney for New Jersey….
That is the investigation continues…..
The paper seems to point in the same direction as other’s in casting doubt on charges against Governor Christie ….But problems for those who may have covered up their actions AFTER the incident…The New York Times also points to separate investigations being done by Securities and Exchange Commission and Manhattan DA’s office….
With Christie looking for Presidential run in 2016 there will pressure on all parties to either charge him by early next year or clear his name…
Federal prosecutors investigating the lane closings at the George Washington Bridge last year are considering charges based on a rarely used provision of a fraud statute, under which they could argue that associates of Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey used the bridge for a purpose other than its intended one.
The statute can be used against members of any government agency that receives more than $10,000 a year in federal money – which could include the state, or the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates the bridge – and it is typically used to elevate offenses committed by local officials into federal crimes.
People with knowledge of the case say prosecutors have not settled on a legal theory for any charges. But even identifying a possible theory is significant; a big question since the United States attorney in New Jersey began investigating the bridge scandal in January has been whether the lane closings violated any federal law. While one possible scenario would be to charge people involved with official misconduct, that is a state, not a federal, crime.
The statute, Section 666 of Title 18 of the United States code concerning theft or bribery in programs receiving federal funds, is commonly used in cases of fraud or embezzlement. But it would be novel – if not unprecedented in New Jersey – for prosecutors to bring charges using the particular clause of the statute being examined in this case, against anyone who “intentionally misapplies property” under the control of the agency.
The investigation by the United States attorney for New Jersey, Paul J. Fishman, is one of three continuing inquiries into the lane closings and allegations of misconduct at the Port Authority that spun out of the bridge scandal…
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