(CNN) – The New Jersey General Assembly announced on Wednesday that it would enlist the help of attorney Reid Schar in its investigation into the closure of access lanes on the George Washington Bridge in September.
Schar, who will serve as special counsel to the assembly’s newly formed investigatory committee, is no stranger to high-profile investigations. In his previous position for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois, Schar led the case against former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
In his new role, Schar will be helping the committee look into whether the lane closures were ordered as political retribution after the mayor of Fort Lee, New Jersey, decided not to endorse Gov. Chris Christie in his re-election bid. The lane closures caused hours-long traffic jams in Fort Lee.
As a private attorney, Schar would not be responsible for bringing charges against those involved in the closures, but some are noting his work in the Blagojevich case and speculating that it relates to why he was chosen for this investigation, which has already led to the firing of several key Christie staffers.
Democratic lawmakers on the special committee have dismissed the connection, however. Assembly Speaker Vince Prieto told News 12 New Jersey, “That assumption can be made and the answer is no. It's just the best person out there that we thought, that we actually looked at."
Schar led both corruption cases against Blagojevich, which resulted in a conviction and 14-year prison sentence for the former governor. Schar also helped prosecute Blagojevich fundraiser Tony Rezko.
The high-profile attorney was also involved in the case against Muhammad Salah and Abdelhaleem Ashqar, both accused of aiding the militant Palestinian organization Hamas.
Schar left the U.S. attorney’s office in Illinois in mid-2012 to join the private law firm Jenner & Block in Chicago, where he co-chairs the firm’s White Collar Defense and Investigations Practice. He is also an adjunct professor at Northwestern University School of Law.