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Feds Probe NJ Governor Christie For Allegedly Quashing Grand Jury Indictments

With hopes that Bridge-gate was drifting into the back of potential voters' minds, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (and members of his staff) face yet another Federal criminal investigation. Having previously dismissed the accusations as being "conspiratorial nonsense," it appears allegations that the governor and his staff broke the law when they quashed grand jury indictments against Christie supporters, are being taken a little more seriously now.


As ABC reports,

The U.S. attorney’s office in New Jersey has interviewed former Hunterdon County Assistant Prosecutor Bennett Barlyn, who claims he was fired because he objected to Christie officials dismissing indictments against political allies of the governor. Barlyn confirmed the investigation to ABC News. It was first reported by the International Business Times.


“It is true,” Barlyn told ABC News, saying he was interviewed by federal authorities at his Pennsylvania home this week. “I also provided the investigators with names of people I thought could furnish firsthand information.”


Barlyn said he was not sure whether others have been questioned for the investigation.


Barlyn was dismissed from the Hunterdon County Prosecutor’s Office in September 2010 and later brought a whistleblower case against the Christie administration that currently is in the discovery phase. He has consistently said he was fired for objecting to the quashing of indictments against the county’s sheriff and two subordinates -- all political supporters of Christie’s.


The governor’s office previously has dismissed the accusations as being “conspiratorial nonsense.”


State officials have repeatedly denied Barlyn’s accusations and, in court filings, they said that the decision to dismiss the indictment was within the discretion of New Jersey’s top law-enforcement officials. They have argued Barlyn has no case and doesn’t even have the right to sue under state law.


The federal prosecutor's probe centers on why Christie’s then-attorney general, Paula Dow, dismissed the indictments.




Barlyn’s new meeting with investigators follows an April letter Barlyn wrote to New Jersey's U.S. attorney, Paul Fishman, telling him “we have no recourse left at the state level to expose this administration’s serious breach of the public trust.” Barlyn then asked Fishman to “open an investigation to explore any potential violations of the federal criminal code that may have occurred in connection with the Hunterdon matter,” adding he had “amassed a substantial body of documentation that corroborates the allegations of criminal wrongdoing by the state.”


In June, Fishman wrote to Barlyn asking him to be in touch with his office about the case, Barlyn said.


Fishman’s office will not comment on the case and Christie’s office did not immediately respond to request for comment, but the potential 2016 presidential candidate has long denied involvement in Barlyn’s termination.


Sources tell ABC News this new investigation is still in the early stages.

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Barlyn's letter to Fishman:


Here's Barlyn letter to Fishman:


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The original NY Times article on the alleged quashing (from Oct 2013) can be read here