Democratic state Sen. Loretta Weinberg, who is leading an investigation of a lane-closing incident that has become a political headache for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, said Sunday the Republican governor should testify before her committee.
“If Gov. Christie comes before our committee under oath and brings all these documents with him, I’d be more than satisfied,” she said on NBC’s Meet the Press.
She said the investigating committee that she is co-chairs has not yet gotten all the evidence it needs, partly because some witnesses have invoked their privilege against self-incrimination. She said the committee is waiting for a court decision that will determine whether those witnesses will need to testify to her panel.
The United States attorney in New Jersey is also investigating the lane closing incident to see if any federal laws were broken.
Last week, Randy Mastro, a former federal prosecutor and ex-chief of staff to former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, issued a 360-page report which cleared Christie of blame for the closing last September of certain lanes leading to the George Washington Bridge.
The lane closings caused major traffic snarls in Fort Lee, N.J.
The central issues are whether Christie ordered or had prior knowledge of the lane closings, and whether they were a form of political retribution directed at the mayor of Fort Lee for not endorsing Christie’s re-election bid.
Mastro was not able to interview five important participants in the lane closing furor, including David Wildstein, a Republican operative and an official of the Port Authority, whom Mastro’s report blames for originating the lane-closing scheme.
In an interview on NBC’s Meet the Press, Giuliani said the Mastro report was not final or complete, but “has gone as far as anybody can go” and was “a good step” in the direction of clearing Christie’s name. Giuliani said the Mastro report was “a vindication of the position that the governor didn’t know beforehand and didn’t order it.”
Based on what Wildstein and other participants said back in September, Giuliani said, there’s no evidence Christie was involved in the lane closing plan.
Giuliani also praised Mastro as a credible investigator, somebody who had faced down death threats when “he took on the Mafia” when he investigated organized crime control of garbage collection in New York City in the 1990s.
Mastro is “not about to do a whitewash – that is not in his character,” Giuliani said.