“Manservant” Chris Christie Can’t Find His Bridgegate Cell Phone – Vanity Fair
With Donald Trump expected to make his vice-presidential pick within the next two weeks, one of the top contenders on the New York billionaireâs shortlist, New Jersey governor Chris Christie, is yet again facing scrutiny for his involvement in the 2013 George Washington Bridge scandal. In the latest âBridgegateâ twist, the New Jersey governor canât account for the phone he used to send text messages when the bridge was partially shut downâallegedly as political retributionâand during the subsequent legislative hearings, which could harm the failed presidential candidateâs chances of getting tapped for the No. 2 job.
Two of Christieâs former allies, Bridget Anne Kelly and Bill Baroni, are pushing prosecutors to introduce more evidence ahead of their criminal trial in September. Facing charges related to the lane closures, which created a days-long traffic jam roughly two and a half years ago, the duo is seeking the cell phone used by Christie during the scandal, but both the governor and federal prosecutors say they donât know where it is. Gibson Dunn, the law firm Christie hired for the case, said it returned the phone after clearing the politician in the case, but did not specify to whom it was returned, Bloomberg reports.
News of Christieâs missing cell phone comes less than a day after F.B.I. director James Comey labeled Hillary Clinton âextremely carelessâ in her use of her private e-mail server while secretary of state, though he stopped short of recommending that criminal charges be brought against her. During his bid for president, Christieâwho has allegedly filled the position of The Donaldâs âmanservantâ, among other campaign rolesâwas quick to condemn Clinton for her e-mail practices. Now, it seems the governorâs national aspirations could be derailed by his own scandal. With a Bridgegate-saddled Christie on the ticket, Trumpâs attacks on the former secretary of state would be weakened and introduce further ethical issues to the presumptive G.O.P. nomineeâs campaign.
Christie, however, might not be out of the V.P. running quite yet. David Samson, a key figure in the Bridgegate scandal and longtime adviser to the New Jersey governor, is reportedly pleading guilty to a unrelated felony as early as the end of the week and wonât testify against Christie and the others potentially involved in the lane closures, The Observer reports. The expected plea from Samson, a political fixer who servered as Chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey at the time of the lane closures, will likely help the former presidential candidate walk away from the traffic-jam scandal relatively unscathed. If Samson knows where the Bridgegate bodies are buried, he isnât talking.