Judge won't name special prosecutor against Christie

AP News
|
Posted: Dec 23, 2016 12:46 PM

A New Jersey judge on Friday reaffirmed that she will not permit the naming of a special prosecutor in a criminal case against Gov. Chris Christie in the Bridgegate scandal.

The ex-firefighter who filed the misconduct complaint had sought a special prosecutor because he said employees of the Bergen County prosecutor's office would have a conflict of interest.

State Superior Court Judge Bonnie Mizdol denied William Brennan's request on Dec. 2, and on Friday denied his motion for reconsideration.

Two former allies of the Republican governor were convicted in a federal trial in November of conspiring to punish a mayor who didn't endorse Christie by causing traffic jams near the bridge.

Christie wasn't charged in that case, but Brennan filed his complaint in October and a different state judge ruled there was probable cause to have the case proceed. Christie has moved to have the complaint thrown out, and a hearing on that challenge is scheduled for next month.

The case would have to be presented to a grand jury, which would then have to hand up an indictment, before Christie would have to stand trial.

Brennan had argued before Mizdol that even though state Attorney General Christopher Porrino and Bergen County Prosecutor Gurbir Grewal — both appointed by Christie — removed themselves from the case, their subordinates wouldn't be able to consider the case impartially.

Lawyers for the state and for the Bergen County prosecutor's office argued that Brennan, as a citizen making a criminal complaint, didn't have the authority to ask for a special prosecutor. Mizdol agreed.

"Allowing a complainant to utilize the courts to challenge a prosecutorial decision would be disruptive, intrusive and inappropriate," Mizdol wrote Friday. "Once a probable cause determination is made, a complainant lacks standing to further pursue the matter with the court."