January 17th, 2014
10:48 AM ET
8 months ago

Former prosecutor points to another case against Christie administration

Updated 4:52 p.m. ET, 1/17/2014

(CNN) – As New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's administration deals with an unfolding political scandal involving top aides, another case involving accusations of cronyism has attracted new attention.

Bennett Barlyn, a former New Jersey assistant prosecutor, alleges he and other prosecutors were fired in 2010 for going after a local sheriff who happened to be close to Christie and the lieutenant governor.

Barlyn said the Hunterdon County sheriff and her staff were indicted on 43 counts involving corruption and abuse of power.

But then New Jersey's attorney general "swooped in and basically killed the case abruptly," Barlyn said on CNN's "New Day."

Why?

Then-Attorney General Paula Dow had claimed one of the prosecutors mispresented the case to the grand jury and had errors in his presentation, Barlyn said. All 43 counts were dismissed.

"There's no way that serious errors could have justified the dismissal of every count in the indictment," he argued. "In New Jersey, case law is very clear. It takes a tremendous amount of error to justify the dismissal of an indictment. It's very different than a jury trial."

After Baryln argued the dismissal was improper, he was fired. Two other prosecutors were also forced out.

Two years ago, he filed a lawsuit against the state, alleging the attorney general acted to protect allies of the governor.

While attorneys general are typically elected and operate independently of the governor's office, New Jersey is one of the few states where the AG is appointed.

"I was a prosecutor in the attorney general's office for close to 15 years. There's a very tight relationship between the attorney general and the governor of New Jersey," he said.

In a New York Times report from October, a spokesman for Christie's office brushed off the allegations, saying Hunterdon County is known for its "ferocious local politics."

“This truly is some of the most wild-eyed conspiracy theories I’ve heard in a long time,” Michael Drewniak said.

CNN reached out to the attorney general's office. It said it could not comment due to pending litigation.

Barlyn says he is not trying to take advantage of the spotlight that's now on Christie's administration over suggestions top aides orchestrated traffic gridlock near the George Washington Bridge last year in a case of alleged political payback.

For his part, Barlyn points to the fact that his case started at the very beginning of Christie's first term.

"My position is that people are correctly making, connecting the dots between what happened in Hunterdon and what happened in ‘Bridgegate,’" he said.

– CNN's Ashley Killough contributed to this report.


Filed under: Chris Christie • New Jersey
soundoff (36 Responses)
  1. plain and simple

    It seems to me republicans have more to gain with the downfall of Christie! Funny how senator Paul and Cruz and the rest of the far right are strangely quiet. Just watching the results of their dirty work???? Then be the understanding bystanders saying look at what those democrats do to this poor misunderstood hero of the working man!!!!

    January 17, 2014 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  2. current state of the union

    Man, I nearly feel guilty of enjoying this so much, the rwnj simply lack the ability to weigh evidence on an even keel, Obama is guilty with zero credible evidence, while Christie staff are going to be charged, and yet he's oblivious to it all, with all the stories coming out, maybe they did act without his direct knowledge, seems pretty evident how things worked around there,based on dozens if incidents coming to light. Buh -bye big guy

    January 17, 2014 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  3. current state of the union

    This is why he felt compelled to make the statement" this does not define this administration, ih yea, then you have a lot if explaining to do. I truly hope they give one immunity, you won't believe what you'd hear.

    January 17, 2014 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  4. Rudy NYC

    just asking

    so at the end of the day, when all of this produces no evidence of christie wrongdoing, is the democrat party going to reimburse the state of nj the tens of millions of tax dollars this political witch hunt cost? or are the nj tax payers going to get screwed once again by the democrats?
    -----------------------
    Can you say "Darrell Issa"? How's that new glass house coming along?

    January 17, 2014 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  5. The Real Tom Paine

    -just asking

    so at the end of the day, when all of this produces no evidence of christie wrongdoing, is the democrat party going to reimburse the state of nj the tens of millions of tax dollars this political witch hunt cost? or are the nj tax payers going to get screwed once again by the democrats?
    ***********
    Strange, you never complained about the cost with Issa, and how he keeps screwing people in all 50 states with pointless investigations in the Obama administration...funny how you were so vocal about supporting any and all means to get him, despite the lack of evidence. There is no wishful thinking on the part of Democrats with this one...only mountains of evidence that point to either incomptance or corruption...your pick.

    January 17, 2014 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  6. Name jk. Sfl. GOP CRUZ lee&rubio 24billion dallar LOSS of your tax money conservatives,the garbage of America.

    Sounds like Christi would NOT make a good president just from these two incidents,who knows what else is out there but I'm sure we will find out!!!!!

    January 17, 2014 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  7. Rusty Krus

    @A True Conservative
    Yea, like Benghazi, the IRS, the NSA and the list goes on.........

    Maybe in your nocturnal emissions...

    January 17, 2014 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  8. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    when all of this produces no evidence of christie wrongdoing, is the democrat party going to reimburse the state of nj the tens of millions of tax dollars this political witch hunt cost
    -------------------------------------------------
    Pass...
    Too easy.

    January 17, 2014 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  9. Romney is STILL NOT My Hero

    Here we go with yet another scandal. Good job Christie Creme! Cryingism...uh, exuse me, Cronyism is a huge offense. He has been deliberately appointing key people just to cover up his mess. Yet, it's still flowing out all over the place. Time to go and hide, big boy. The people willing to watch his backside are dwindling by the day.

    January 17, 2014 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  10. ron

    is Christie being used as a diverson for Obama & Hillary & holder ?Christie has not done anything close to what the three amigos have

    January 17, 2014 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  11. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    is Christie being used as a diverson for Obama & Hillary & holder ?
    -------------------------------------------------
    Oh yes. I'm sure that's it.....
    Get real.

    January 17, 2014 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
1 2