The U.S. Attorney in New Jersey could be meeting with a new witness soon as part of the investigation into allegations that members of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's administration held Superstorm Sandy recovery funds hostage in Hoboken.
The Hoboken city council voted Wednesday night to approve a measure that would allow Mayor Dawn Zimmer to waive attorney-client privileges, paving the way for a city attorney to comply with a subpoena for documents from the U.S. Attorney's office.
Zimmer could grant the waiver immediately, enabling Joe Maraziti - who represents Hoboken in matters relating to real estate and economic development - to hand over any documents, emails and texts relating to the mayor's allegations that the delivery of Sandy recovery funds was contingent on her approval of a real estate proposal with ties to Christie allies. This also allows the lawyer to meet with investigators and tell them anything Zimmer might have mentioned to him about conversations she claims took place with members of the Christie administration.
In an appearance on CNN's "State of the Union" in January, Zimmer said she was told by New Jersey Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno that Sandy relief funds hinged on her support for a real estate development project and that the directive was coming directly from Christie. "She said that to me - that this is a direct message from the governor," Zimmer said, referring to a conversation she said took place in a parking lot in Hoboken in May of last year.
Gaudagno denied that any such message was delivered to the mayor. She called Zimmer's allegation "categorically false." Members of the Christie administration labeled it a partisan attack.
Zimmer also claims that state Community Affairs Commissioner Richard Constable delivered a similar message to her while they were both participating in a panel discussion on the Sandy recovery effort. Constable said Zimmer's allegations were "patently false and absurd on their face."
An internal investigation conducted by lawyers hired by the Christie administration found no evidence to support Zimmer's claims. "They are contradicted by contemporaneous documents, other witnesses' accounts and her own prior statements," attorney Randy Mastro wrote in the 360-page report. "In sum, the subjective perceptions she may have do not match objective reality, as reflected in the hard evidence uncovered during our investigation.”
Calling the internal review sadly predictable, Zimmer said in a written statement that it was a "one-sided whitewash of serious misconduct by the Christie administration."