Josh Marshall – TPM:
As noted earlier, we sent Eric Kleefeld down to the Elizabeth, New Jersey police department headquarters to get the police report on gubernatorial Chris Christie’s wrong-way collision with a motorcyclist back in 2002. And here’s Eric’s write-up on the report.
But just a few moments ago, another big development surfaced — an apparent lie about the accident Christie was caught in by New Jersey public television station NJN.
One of the things that made us most curious about this was that Christie’s negligence (he was driving the wrong direction on a one-way street) seemed so clear that we were wondering whether the accident didn’t lead to a lawsuit.
Earlier today, NJN asked Christie whether the accident had led to a lawsuit. And Christie said, point blank, no.
But a few hours after getting Christie’s flat denial, NJN found records of a 2004 suit, which appears to have been later settled out of court.
We’re going to keep on this and see what more we can find out. But this looks about as close as you can find to a straight up, caught red-handed lie by Christie.
New Jersey GOP gubernatorial candidate Chris Christie’s spotty driving record is one thing. But what’s worse is that he may have violated clear Justice Department guidelines by pulling rank with cops on the scene.
Today we learned about a 2002 episode in which Christie hit a motorcyclist after making a wrong-turn that had him briefly going the wrong way down a one-way street in Elizabeth. The motorcyclist ended up in hospital, but Christie didn’t get so much as a ticket. And a police official told the Star Ledger that Christie “did identify himself as U.S. attorney.”
That would seem to contravene Justice Department guidelines on standards of conduct, which state:
Use of Title. With rare exceptions, employees engage in outside activities in their private rather than official capacities. Therefore, when engaging in outside activities in their private capacity, employees may not indicate or represent in any way that they are acting on behalf of the Department, or that they are acting in their official capacity.
But wait! According to the Star-Ledger, Christie was on his way to the swearing-in of the Union County prosecutor at the time of the accident. That means that he could at least make the case that the standards might not apply in this case, since he wasn’t engaging in an outside activity in a private capacity.
But that’s not the only dodgy driving Christie incident we’ve learned about lately. In 2005, Christie was cited for speeding and for driving in an unregistered, uninsured vehicle after being pulled over by cops in Lambertville. The local police director has said that, as in the Elizabeth case, Christie “identified himself” as a U.S. attorney.
And in this case, Christie almost certainly wasn’t acting in an official capacity. He’s said he was with his family and his deputy, Michele Brown, and that the group was on its way to a University of Delaware football game. That means the Justice Department guidelines almost certainly would apply.
A lawyer for the Justice Department offered support for that notion, telling TPMmuckraker in an email:
One of the first things you are trained on as part of your orientation is that you never ever ever ever attempt to avoid traffic citations or legal penalties by showing your credentials to an officer or by telling an officer who you are. You are shown videos of people attempting it, you sign a statement stating that you will not misuse credentials or position, and you are told in no uncertain terms that not only is such behavior a violation of Department policy – a Department Christie was employed with as a United States Attorney – it is also a serious ethical violation as an attorney.
The lawyer called Christie’s rank-pulling “inexcusable, because it is so clearly a violation of the public trust and his obligations as an attorney.”
And a former federal prosecutor agreed, saying via email “we were told quite explicitly that flashing creds to get out of a ticket was a serious misuse of authority.”
The Christie campaign hasn’t responded to multiple attempts over at TPMDC to contact them about the incident. We’ll keep you posted if we get a response.
I received the following email from Newark Mayor Cory Booker tonight stressing what a good job Governor Corzine has done in leading and maintaining the high standards for education in the state. The video that accompanied the email I thought was excellent and a must watch:
It’s that time of year again — the summer is over and we’re sending our children back to school for another school year.
As I meet with teachers, administrators and students in Newark, I’ve been reflecting on the changes that I’ve witnessed in our schools over the last four years and Jon Corzine’s leadership when it comes to education in New Jersey.
Governor Corzine has increased funding for our schools by over $1 billion over the last four years, and here in Newark we’re making the most of it — we have three Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence and seen 4 new schools built to serve the children and families of our great City.
While we’ve made some important strides, there is much work to be done to ensure that every New Jersey child receives an excellent education. Jon Corzine is our partner in this critical mission.
Your help and support could make a real and lasting impact in the New Jersey Governor’s race, so please get involved today.
Mayor Cory Booker
I attended Rep. Rush Holt’s public meeting in Middletown last week and want to thank him for holding it and for listening to his constituents. By responding only to written questions, submitted in advance, he diminished the effectiveness of those whose goal was to disrupt the meeting. It was evident that those who were making the most noise were the most ill-informed or misinformed of those in attendance.
In answering questions, Holt displayed his thorough understanding of the health care issues and of the bills as they now stand. People in Holt’s 12th congressional district are fortunate to have him representing them. He is one of the most intelligent, hard-working members of the House. That becomes evident when watching some other members of Congress on television.
I don’t agree with him on every issue. He considers a public option essential, but would not say whether he would vote for a bill that did not include it.
The bill isn’t reform if it doesn’t include a strong public option.
After the meeting, Holt stayed and took more questions. He never lost his patience, even as an angry constituent pushed his way to the front of the crowd and shouted at him.
William C. Stevenson
Fox News’s Glenn Beck has really gone off the deep end.
In his attempt to push his radical right wing conspiracy theories and propaganda, Beck my have gone to far. Beck stated on his show the other night that NYC’s Rockefeller Center is a communist mecca because of the art novue style art that decorates the GE building.
Beck went on to imply that anyone who works in Rockefeller Center complex is a communist but what he failed to realize is that Fox News studios itself is located in Rockefeller Center. Progressive, Fascists and Communists unite!
Countdown’s Keith Olbermann had a hysterical response to Beck’s ridiculous “Rockefeller was a communist” rant.
“He did identify himself as U.S. attorney,” Cosgrove said…..
Asked whether Christie’s job title factored into the officer’s decision, Cosgove said, “I don’t think I want to make that kind of deduction, but I think the facts speak for themselves.”
Chris Christie’s past just keeps looking better and better to the Corzine camp. It seems that whenever Christie got himself into any trouble, he just had to envoke the name of the US attorney’s office and the position he held there to get out of any trouble.
Last night it was confirmed by the Star-Ledger
, that Christie was not issued a traffic ticket after his BMW sedan was involeved in a traffic incident with a motorcyclist while speeding towards the swearing-in of the new Union County prosecutor in july of 2002:
Details about the accident came to light today as Democrats continue to hammer Christie over his driving record and accuse him of misusing his office as a federal prosecutor.
“This was an unfortunate accident and just like a lot of us, Chris knows he can always be a better driver,” said Maria Comella, a campaign spokeswoman.
Christie was driving a rented BMW sedan and apparently had lost his way when he attempted to turn right onto a street that was one-way in the other direction, according to the police report. A motorcyclist, Andre Mendonca of Elizabeth, was riding towards Christie, and both men saw one another and put on the brakes, police said. Christie’s vehicle came to a stop, and the motorcycle then “fell on its side and slid into his vehicle,” according to the police report.
Mendonca was taken by ambulance to University Hospital in Newark, Cosgrove said. He said he did not know the extent of Mendonca’s injuries or “the seriousness of the condition.” Mendonca could not be reached for comment tonight.
Democratic candidate for State Assembly, Robert “Bob” Brown, is an attorney and retired Old Bridge police officer who was wounded in the line of duty. He is running in the 13th district against Republican incumbents Sam Thompson and Amy Handlin.
He has a short biographical campaign video that has recently been posted on the web, you can watch it below:
To learn more about Bob Brown and his runningmate, Middletown’s Jim Grenafege, and the issues that they will be fighting for check out their website www.assembly13.org