NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — A law firm whose taxpayer-funded investigation cleared Republican Gov. Chris Christie of wrongdoing in the George Washington Bridge lane-closing scandal must turn over notes from the probe it claims don't exist, two former Christie allies facing criminal charges in the scandal wrote in court papers Monday.
An attorney for former Christie deputy chief of staff Bridget Kelly, accusing Gibson Dunn and Crutcher of conducting a "deliberate and systematic attempt" to destroy the notes, implored a judge to reject the firm's motion to quash a subpoena for them.
The motion amounts to a "self-serving plea to the court to 'trust us,'" Kelly's attorney Michael Critchley wrote.
"It is respectfully submitted that neither GDC nor the so-called independent investigation it conducted should be blindly trusted," he wrote.
Kelly and former Port Authority of New York and New Jersey deputy executive director William Baroni were indicted in May on charges including wire fraud and deprivation of civil rights, and they pleaded not guilty. A third former Christie ally, former Port Authority official David Wildstein, pleaded guilty and said the scheme was concocted to punish Fort Lee's Democratic mayor for not endorsing Christie for re-election.
Gibson Dunn was hired by Christie, who's seeking the Republican nomination for president, at taxpayer expense and has been paid more than $7 million. Its report concluded in March 2014 that the governor had no knowledge beforehand of the lane closings in September 2013 near the bridge between New Jersey and New York. The lane closures caused four days of massive gridlock in Fort Lee.
One reason Baroni and Kelly want access to the investigation notes: The probe concluded the lane closings weren't orchestrated for political retribution, which is in direct contrast to what the U.S. attorney's office said in the indictment, based in part on information from Wildstein.
Another reason, according to Monday's filing: At least two Christie staffers interviewed by the law firm later told a legislative committee also investigating the lane closings that the law firm's summaries of their interviews were inaccurate or misleading.
Gibson Dunn has sought to block the request for the notes. It has said the subpoena is a "fishing expedition" that seeks electronically stored information, called metadata, that is "utterly unmoored to any aspect of the criminal case against these Defendants."
Attorney Randy Mastro, representing Gibson Dunn, didn't return an email seeking comment after hours Monday.