Today a judge in Bergen County found probable cause for a citizen’s complaint against Chris Christie, NJ’s governor, for official misconduct based on his failure to order his subordinates to end the lane closures on the George Washington Bridge. Testimony by David Wildstein at the federal Bridgegate trial shows that Christie was told of the lane closures on the George Washington Bridge while it was happening.
Official misconduct, NJ statutes 2C:30-2 states that a public servant commits official misconduct when, with a purpose to obtain a benefit for himself or to injure or deprive another of a benefit, he knowingly refrains from performing a duty which is either imposed on him or is clearly inherent in his office.
Official misconduct is a 2nd-degree crime that carries with it a presumption of imprisonment of 5 to 10 years.
Based on the testimony of David Wildstein Christie was attempting to get the mayor of Ft. Lee, a Democrat, to endorse Christie, a Republican, for re-election. Clearly, Christie was attempting to obtain a benefit for himself.
It is inherent in the office of the governor to protect the safety of the citizens of New Jersey and not to knowingly endanger them. Christie’s lack of action deprived the citizens of Ft. Lee and others of the benefit of good government as the lane closures resulted in massive traffic jams in Ft. Lee just as the school year was beginning. The massive traffic jam made it extremely difficult for school buses filled with children to get to their destinations, ambulances to bring people to hospitals, and the police to do their jobs and respond in emergencies, among other dangers created.