Special counsel in bridge investigation has a history prosecuting governors
January 15th, 2014
10:08 PM ET
9 years ago

Special counsel in bridge investigation has a history prosecuting governors

(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.

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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."

[LINK: http://newjersey.news12.com/news/reid-schar-announced-as-bridge-gate-legal-counsel-1.6807631%5D
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.

Filed under: Chris Christie • New Jersey
soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. The right wing lost their damned minds

    Oooooo...Guess whose pooping in his pants now??

    January 15, 2014 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  2. S. B. Stein

    I can't wait to see what is brought to light. How much of a problem will this cause for Christie and his staff; will be interesting to see.

    January 15, 2014 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  3. freedom

    Where are your headlines for the Benghazi testimonies against the State Dept – Hilary Clinton – and Pres. Obama? Although the bridge fiasco is news – Benghazi is bigger.

    January 16, 2014 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  4. Smiotty

    Hey CNN, the pres lied about Ben Ghazi, according to the other news lines, Hilly was in also, Wheres the story on that ??? Want to be fair Start reporting that. My thoughts on Christie are this if he didn't know he should of. End of of story he needs to go, Same with Obammy . In politics if you lie you die. What else has (just) these two lied about ???

    January 16, 2014 12:18 am at 12:18 am |
  5. Hairy reed

    I don't know what the big deal is, it was a spontaneous closure caused by a video.

    January 16, 2014 12:51 am at 12:51 am |
  6. Thomas

    New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was only playing around !

    January 16, 2014 01:00 am at 1:00 am |

    Christie is toast and he knows it.

    January 16, 2014 02:46 am at 2:46 am |
  8. @RI_Roger

    Why is this still a national story? Until Christie declares his intention for national office only then do the rest of us outside of New Jersey and New York City even care.... enough is enough of this tabloid journalism.

    The national story America needs to be concerned with is the incompetence of the WH and State Dept. administrations to handle our embassy security in Benghazi.... The Media needs to demand accountability.

    January 16, 2014 06:24 am at 6:24 am |
  9. Marie MD

    At least in NJ they are not afraid to give out much needed punishment.
    Seems that the big guy was meeting with the transportation director while all this mess was going on.
    He knew about and probably set it in place. This is NOT something underlings do.
    Couple that with Hurricane Sandy funds used inappropriately and you have the perfect storm against the gov.

    January 16, 2014 06:33 am at 6:33 am |
  10. Gurgyl

    ---it is all bull, just like 4789 pages of papers, 367 Video tapes, etc, to waste YOUR TAX-DOLLARS just like farmer president allegation by Kenneth Starr, total bull. Let all that evidence be deposed in front of media to telecast directly.

    January 16, 2014 07:43 am at 7:43 am |
  11. Tampa Tim

    If Krispy was involved, and our Medicaid scammer governor in FL would come clean, maybe they could have an all governor foursome in a white collar prison.

    January 16, 2014 07:58 am at 7:58 am |
  12. Tampa Tim

    The scandal is now within a handshake of Krispy. So close. As the baggers say, "This isn't rocket surgery."

    January 16, 2014 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  13. Rudy NYC

    Although their coverage of Bridghazi has been slow, even Fox News has acknowledged that this is a "legitimate" scandal, and "not something manufactured by Democrats," which is how Christie had tried to characterize it for months. I get a real kick out of that last part, "not manufactured", indeed. The fact that they picked that subject at all speaks volumes about their mindset.

    January 16, 2014 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  14. Jered

    Now that there is a special counsel appointed, given past history – how long will it be before a grand jury convenes? Probably within the month. Just when the subpoenas will have gathered up all the info asked for.

    Important to note: Both the feds and the state are not entertaining any immunity deals, because it looks like they don't need to go that route – there is enough info already gathered.

    Also, under a grand jury, nobody can plead the 5th to get out of testifying. The truth will come out because the sheer number of people involved, and the means to get the truth out of them to save themselves from the 'other guy'.

    January 16, 2014 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  15. Rudy NYC

    Jered wrote:

    Also, under a grand jury, nobody can plead the 5th to get out of testifying. The truth will come out because the sheer number of people involved, and the means to get the truth out of them to save themselves from the 'other guy'.
    You're not making good sense. I told you yesterday that no one pleads the 5th at a grand jury hearing because the accused is not called to testify. Do you understand what purpose, or service, that a grand jury provides? It doesn't sound like it. A grand jury does not determine innocence or guilt. A grand jury determines: what crimes, if any, were committed; which charges, if any, should be brought; and who should be charged, if at all.

    January 16, 2014 09:34 am at 9:34 am |