Recently I discussed the “Bridgegate” scandal surrounding Chris Christie, in which members of the New Jersey governor’s administration intentionally caused traffic jams in an act of political retaliation. Ever since the allegations against Deputy Chief of Staff Bridget Ann Kelly were supported with incriminating evidence, Christie has worked tirelessly to distance himself from the controversy. Of course, as the investigation wages on, it is apparent that governor Christie will be engulfed in accusations of his guilt until he is proven innocent.
“In short (or rather long), Chris Christie can look forward to many months of investigations,” explains Jeffrey Toobin for The New Yorker. “News leaks will abound. Like most U.S. Attorney operations, Fishman’s investigation has been largely invisible to the public, but the legislators, especially the Democrats, live to embarrass the governor,” says Toobin of the immense scrutiny that the governor is facing. Christie will certainly have to endure months of investigation and public speculation before even considering moving forward from this scandal. If evidence is provided that the governor did have prior knowledge of the intentional traffic jams, it’s likely he will not recover from such a political mar.
In this day and age, the media can be just as much of a threat to public figures as a prosecuting attorney in the wake of political controversy. The public seems eager to devour news of the latest political scandal whenever such information is leaked; it’s almost as if each year one major politician is vilified by media outlets that perpetuate a narrative devoid of factual evidence. As legal analyst Kendall Coffey explains, “It all comes down to not what we’re reading in the papers or what is being said through an attorney – what really is the evidence?” In a recent interview with Al Sharpton, Coffey expressed what so many people are quick to forget: that physical evidence will be the deciding factor in this case.
If evidence is provided that Chris Christie had prior knowledge to the events that spun from “Bridgegate,” his career – and reputation – will most certainly be in jeopardy. Conversely, if his innocence is proven, the governor will likely still be portrayed as a controversial figure for his association with such a scandal. I’ll continue to report on “Bridgegate” as the investigation develops.