(CNN) - Attorneys hired by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s office have found no evidence linking him to “plotting or directing” traffic jams at the foot of the George Washington Bridge that are at the center of a political scandal roiling his administration, the New York Times reported.
A state legislative investigative committee and the U.S. Attorney’s office are looking into whether the tie-ups in Fort Lee were set in motion deliberately by top Christie appointees to punish that town’s Democratic mayor for not endorsing the Republican’s reelection.
Christie’s office did not confirm the Times Sunday article that cited people familiar with the internal review, but it did issue a statement saying that the legal team had full cooperation from Christie and his administration.
The statement said Christie handed over his iPhone and provided access to his government and personal email accounts. Investigators also had access to emails and cell phones from current and former administration officials.
The traffic scandal has called into question Christie’s forceful governing style that has resonated with Garden State voters and clouded prospects for a potential run for president in 2016.
Christie's standing in national opinion polls among potential Republican White House contenders has tumbled since the scandal, which simmered during the later stages of the fall campaign, and broke wide open in January with the release of potentially damaging emails between top appointees.
No one has accused the governor of any wrongdoing. Christie has said previously that he knew nothing about the traffic jams over several days in September until they were over, and only from media reports. He also denied having any knowledge of political mischief by his staff or other appointees.
A top staffer in his office in Trenton, his former campaign manager, and a handful of Christie-appointed officials from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey have been caught up in the mess.
No one has been accused of wrongdoing as part of any investigation, but the legislative committee has subpoenaed documents and other materials from a number of Christie aides and appointees, and its investigation is ongoing.
The internal investigation of Christie was led by Randy Mastro, a former New York City deputy mayor under Rudy Giuliani and a litigator with a reputation for being a tough opponent who will “fight you until the end,” according to the website for the law firm Gibson & Dunn.
Mastro and four other attorneys from the firm have been working on the internal review that the Times reported has cost $1 million so far.
New Jersey Assemblyman John Wisniewski, co-chair of the special investigative panel looking at the Christie matter and a Democrat, raised some doubts about the conclusions of the internal review.
He said questions remain unanswered, specifically by former Christie Deputy Chief of Staff Bridget Kelly, whose purported email to a Port Authority official weeks before the lane closures - “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee” – has yet to be explained to the committee, according to Wisniewski.
“If we don’t know why she sent that email, if we don’t know who gave her the authority to send that email, if we don’t know what she thought she may be accomplishing by sending that email, then we can’t have a complete picture of what happened here,” Wisniewski told the New Jersey Star-Ledger.
Kelly is fighting a subpoena from the committee in court.
Mastro’s report on the internal review is expected to be released in the near future.
N0 news dems just want to waste and give away some of our cash and force him to spend his ! 0ldest dem trick in the books . N0 news .
Kinda like MR. Issa spending 14 million on the IRS witch hunt?
I thought! the media was the judge the prosecutor and the executioner!
His key staff in this matter are pleading the fifth, ( Kelly / Stepeien) how can they conclude he is innocent without seeing thier E-mails, because he is quite capable of deleting any incriminating ones he has or had received.
Too funny!!! How bout I investigate me and find me not guilty??? Those rethuglicans are "special"...
A million bucks. I hope tax payers in NJ aren't paying for this PR scam.