January 17th, 2014
10:48 AM ET
3 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. rs

    Ahh, the slow drip, drip, drip of scandal.

    January 17, 2014 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  2. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    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
    -------------------------------------------------
    Ooh boy!
    Yes, well, what is starting to become quite clear is the pattern of questionable behaviour that did not allow the good Governor to make it past Romney's vetting for the vp slot.
    Stay tuned, folks, this is only going to get better...or worse, depending who you're pulling for.
    I'm pulling for the real Chris Christie to be revealed to one and all.

    January 17, 2014 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  3. Tampa Tim

    Most knew that Krispy would be like Guiliani and disappear from the scene. More tales of Krispy corruption may just get him his cell in prison with other governors. He hired a high level legal team at taxpayer expense, so maybe he knows something after all.

    January 17, 2014 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  4. Rick McDaniel

    The Dem political assassination team will be on the attack, until they have destroyed any possibility Christie can win the Republican primary. This is all entirely political.......and the voters know it.

    January 17, 2014 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  5. ChrisM

    These cases against Christies administration and Christie himself are just now getting started. I am sure now that the door has been opened the opening of the flood gates will follow

    January 17, 2014 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  6. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    And the stories keep on coming. Sounds like some real bullying going on.

    January 17, 2014 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  7. Marie MD

    Oh poor christie the skeletons start pouring out of the closet.
    I think everyone this big guy has ever wronged is going to come forward. There won't be enough seats in the house!

    January 17, 2014 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  8. A True Conservative

    Yea, like Benghazi, the IRS, the NSA and the list goes on.........

    January 17, 2014 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  9. rs

    A True Conservative

    Yea, like Benghazi, the IRS, the NSA and the list goes on.........
    _____________________
    Yes, but there seem to be facts here......

    January 17, 2014 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  10. Rudy NYC

    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."
    ---------------------
    Recall how I keep repeating the backlog of unprosecuted cases that Christie had left behind, and almost all of them were against Republicans, or allies of his? It's almost like the man had kept file cabinets of dirt on people, going after those who crossed him. Within a month, or two, after Christie was sworn in, more than 60 cases saw indictments handed down. He'd been sitting on a mountainous case load of unprosecuted cases. What was he waiting for?

    January 17, 2014 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  11. rs

    Rudy NYC

    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."
    -------
    Recall how I keep repeating the backlog of unprosecuted cases that Christie had left behind, and almost all of them were against Republicans, or allies of his? It's almost like the man had kept file cabinets of dirt on people, going after those who crossed him. Within a month, or two, after Christie was sworn in, more than 60 cases saw indictments handed down. He'd been sitting on a mountainous case load of unprosecuted cases. What was he waiting for?
    __________________
    Payback?

    January 17, 2014 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  12. Greg In Arkansas

    After following all the stories about Christie, Is anyone else reminded of the TV show "The Sopranos".....???

    January 17, 2014 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  13. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    . Within a month, or two, after Christie was sworn in, more than 60 cases saw indictments handed down. He'd been sitting on a mountainous case load of unprosecuted cases. What was he waiting for?
    -------------------------------------------------
    Is that a rhetorical question Rudy?
    Off the cuff I'd say he was waiting to be elected and sworn in...but that's just my guess....

    January 17, 2014 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  14. Anonymous

    "The Dem political assassination team will be on the attack................."
    ---
    Ah, yes. The deep thinker, aka Rick McDaniel, who pretends to be able to determine that if the Dems do it, it
    is 'attacking'. If the Pubs do it, it is 'investigating'. What a crock of "who shot John" malarky he spews..........
    kinda' sad.

    January 17, 2014 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  15. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    Rick McDaniel
    The Dem political assassination team will be on the attack, until they have destroyed any possibility Christie can win the Republican primary. This is all entirely political.......and the voters know it.
    ----------------------------------------
    The voters know overwhelmingly that Christie is playing the "See No Evil, Hear No Evil" card. The man is not stupid nor incompetent. He knows good and darn well what his cronies were up to. And for him to come out on December 5 and make jokes of him "working the cones" is just a smack in the face to the people of Ft. Lee. This is a REAL scandal.

    January 17, 2014 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  16. Rudy NYC

    Rick McDaniel

    The Dem political assassination team will be on the attack, until they have destroyed any possibility Christie can win the Republican primary. This is all entirely political.......and the voters know it.
    ------------------------------
    This Christe scandal will end in one of two ways. He's either lying or he's telling the truth about not knowing anything, neither of which speaks well for him. That's why this issue is under such scrutiny. Inquiring minds like to watch politicians squirm when they've run out of wiggle room. But, this bridge thing just scratches the surface of the tales of dirty tricks I've heard about.

    January 17, 2014 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  17. Tommy G

    And there is STILL not one shred of evidence of wrong dong by Christie.... Sleazy Democrat smear machine just keeps flinging feces like a wild monkey. Meanwhile Bengahzi Hillary walks around with the blood of four Americans dripping from her hands as she yelss what does it matter.

    January 17, 2014 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  18. wendel

    rs is some kind of nut job. to much faux news.Typical repo ploy. When confronted with current embarrassment lets just attack. Even mittens knew enough to say away from Christy. Im sure we will keep uncovering things about this loudmouth prez wanna be.

    January 17, 2014 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  19. Rudy NYC

    rs

    A True Conservative

    Yea, like Benghazi, the IRS, the NSA and the list goes on.........
    _____________________
    Yes, but there seem to be facts here......

    ===================================================
    ...and additional victims. People are starting to come forward, baring their arms, and showing Christie fang marks.

    Heaven knows how many lawsuits are going to result from the traffic jams. Hundreds, maybe thousands, of commuters might be filing suits for time and aggravation. This is becoming one big expensive mess as lawyers and "victims" alike can smell easy money. It might take years and years to sort out, who was actually there and who wasn't.

    January 17, 2014 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  20. Anthony

    You need to investigate George E Norcross III
    This is the problem in NJ. He is so corrupt and so is Stephen Sweeney, senate president. These two men control NJ Governors. They are Evil. Antichrists.

    January 17, 2014 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  21. Anonymous

    "The Dem political assassination team will be on the attack until they have destroyed any possibility Christie can win..."
    ............
    Except that the bipartisan New Jersey Assembly voted unanimously to investigate Christie's possible abuse of
    power, and the
    bipartisan New Jersey State Senate voted unanimously to investigate the bridge closings........

    So, guess it is a bipartisan "attack" on Christie....which he brought on himself.
    Try again.

    January 17, 2014 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  22. Anthony

    Norcross and Sweeney are illegally accessing
    Phone records, text and emails. He took Dow. Corzine with Carla Katz emails. Norcross should be arrested for illegal wire taps and AOL Patch is somehow possibly involved along with satellites that he may be using with that ez pass money used to track tolls. Something is not right and NJ political boss should be watched by homeland security and us justice department. This is a serious matter and Norcross and Sweeney have abuse power and should be investigated for national security.

    January 17, 2014 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  23. Rudy NYC

    DM4O wrote:

    Is that a rhetorical question Rudy?
    Off the cuff I'd say he was waiting to be elected and sworn in...but that's just my guess....
    -----------------------–
    Yes, it was rhetorical. But, if had to name a reason my gut says that it was for leverage, not blackmail, merely leverage.

    January 17, 2014 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  24. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    The Dem political assassination team will be on the attack, until they have destroyed any possibility Christie can win the Republican primary
    -------------------------------------------------
    I firmly believe that with very rare exceptions people don't get fired, they actually fire themselves due to a pattern of behaviour that goes against company or set expectations.
    The same principle applies here.
    If Christie stopped dropping his pants, he wouldn't be in a position to get screwed.

    January 17, 2014 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  25. 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?

    January 17, 2014 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
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