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        American Bread: Stand Your Ground
         
        Stand Your Ground
Alexander was found guilty of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, and sentenced to 20 years in prison. Due to erroneous jury instructions, a retrial has been ordered. She is again seeking “stand your ground” immunity. Without it, she faces 60 years in prison.
In June 2014, Governor Rick Scott signed a bill extending "stand your ground" protections. Floridians may now fire warning shots as a means of self-protection. Any allegation, any adverse incident like this makes me mad as hell”, he said. “We can, and we must do better.” He has since resigned. BACK >
         
         
        Bridgegate Sampler I
Ants on a Logjam | Lemon Aide: Kelly | Port Wine Authority
         
       

Ants on a Logjam
On September 13, 2013, in an email to the general manager of the George Washington Bridge, Port Authority Executive Director Patrick Foye ordered the lanes re-opened. Foye, NY Governor Andrew Cuomo’s appointee, was upset that public safety had been jeopardized and convinced that state and federal laws had been broken. Publicly, on September 14th, the Port Authority said that the lanes had been closed for a traffic study.
On October 2nd, John Wisnewski, the chairman of the NJ State Assembly Transportation Committee announced an investigation into the lane closures. On November 25th, Deputy Executive Bill Baroni appeared before the committee and detailed the traffic study, which he said was ordered by David Wildstein. On December 9th, Patrick Foye testified that there had been no traffic study.
In January 2014, 20 subpoenas were sent out to individuals and organizations as part of investigations into the lane closures. In April, four additional subpoenas were issued.
A separate federal case is being built.
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        Lemon Aide: Kelly
Kelly has pled the Fifth in the NJ Legislature’s investigation. On May 6th, Christina Renna, Kelly’s subordinate, testified that she believed Kelly was “instrumental” but not the architect of the scheme. BACK >
         
        Port WIne Authority: Wildstein
Communications between Wildstein and Christie officials have revealed a potential conspiracy against Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich, who did not endorse Chris Christie’s re-election bid:
On September 9th, Wildstein told Kelly that his response to Sokolich, who was desperate for answers on the first day of the closures, was “radio silence”.
On September 10th, Wildstein referred to children stuck on school buses as “children of Buono voters”. (Barbara Buono was Christie’s Democratic challenger for Governor.)
On September 12th, Deputy Executive Bill Baroni forwarded a message to Wildstein from Mayor Sokolich, in which Sokolich voiced concern that the closures were an act of political retribution. Baroni mocked the mayor: "From Serbia: My frustration is now trying to figure out who is mad at me." (Sokolich is of Croatian descent.)
On September 13th, Wildstein wrote to Kelly, “The New York side gave Fort Lee back all three lanes this morning. We are appropriately going nuts. Samson helping us to retaliate.” (David Samson was Chairman of the Port Authority during the lane closures.)
On September 18th, Bill Stepien, Chris Christie’s campaign manager, called the mayor “an idiot” after Wildstein sent him an article on the traffic jams. Wildstein responded, “It will be a tough November for this little Serbian.”
In December, Wildstein resigned. On January 8, 2014, the smoking gun emails surfaced. The next day, Christie told reporters of his disappointment with his staff, and that he was unaware of the bridge situation when it occurred.
David Wildstein, who pled the Fifth in the NJ Legislature’s investigation, has alluded to evidence that Christie knew of the bridge incident as it was happening, namely, that he told him on September 11, 2013. Wildstein’s position at the Port Authority has been eliminated. BACK >
         
         
        Bridgegate Sampler II
Mock Traffic Study | Confit of Interest | Lemon Aide: Stepien
         
        Mock Traffic Study: Baroni
On November 25th, after days of preparation with the Port Authority attorney, Bill Baroni testified at a hearing before the Assembly Transportation Committee. Baroni, who was not under oath, revealed that the lane closures were ordered by Wildstein. Using a blown up photograph of the GWB toll plaza, he illustrated how access the lanes favored Fort Lee, and were thus unfair to other commuters. He could not explain why the closures had not been announced. John Wisnewski, chairman of the committee, described Baroni’s testimony as “ham-handed” at best, and “political mischief” at worst.
On December 9th, Patrick Foye testified that he was “not aware of a traffic study”. On December 12th, Bill Baroni resigned. Chris Christie said it was unrelated to the bridge scandal. BACK >
         
        Confit of Interest: Samson
In March 2012 Samson voted to approve a $256 million reconstruction of a PATH station in Harrison, months after BRG, a Wolff & Samson client, proposed converting a nearby warehouse into luxury apartments.
In January 2014, Hoboken mayor Dawn Zimmer claimed she was pressured to approve a land development proposal from The Rockefeller Group, a Wolff & Samson client, and told that Hurricane Sandy funds were tied to a deal.
Emails between Port Authority officials have linked Samson directly to the “bridgegate” saga. On September 13, 2013, David Wildstein wrote to Bridget Anne Kelly, “The New York side gave Fort Lee back all three lanes this morning. We are appropriately going nuts. Samson helping us to retaliate.” On September 18th, suspicious that Patrick Foye had leaked information to the press, Samson told Cuomo appointee Scott Rechler that Foye was “stirring up trouble” and “playing in traffic”. Rechler did not agree.
In February 2014, Patrick Foye said he did not believe that Samson had the moral authority to run the Port Authority. In March, Samson resigned his post.
David Samson refused to be interviewed for Governor Christie’s internal investigation. His lawyer, former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff has said that his client will not be cooperating with the NJ Legislature’s investigation, citing Fifth Amendment rights. Samson and his firm are being investigated by federal prosecutors for potential conflicts of interest with the Port Authority. BACK >
         
        Lemon Aide: Stepien
On January 8th, documents linking Stepien to the September 2013 bridge scandal became public:
On September 12th, Bill Baroni forwarded an email to Stepien from Mayor Sokolich, in which Sokolich asked that the access lanes be re-opened and expressed suspicion that political retribution was being enacted upon him. “Thanks”, Stepien replied.
On September 18th, Stepien responded to an article on the traffic jams sent to him by David Wildstein, “The mayor is an idiot”.
On November 26th, Stepien told Bill Baroni,“you did great, and I wanted to thank you”, the day after Baroni’s traffic study testimony.
On January 9th, 2014, Governor Christie announced that he had fired Stepien. He said that he was “disturbed by the tone and behavior and attitude of callous indifference that was displayed in the emails by my former campaign manager, Bill Stepien. And reading that, it made me lose my confidence in Bill’s judgment.”
In February, lawyers for Stepien and Bridget Anne Kelly, who both pled the Fifth, said their clients would not hand over subpoenaed documents. In April, a judge ruled in their favor.
On March 28th, Stepien’s lawyer challenged Chris Christie’s internal investigation. “One can search in vain for an iota of evidence that Bill Stepien was involved in the planning, the execution, or the concealment of this lane-closure plan. There is no evidence that he ever deceived anyone, including the governor, in any way.” BACK >
         
         
        Bridgegate Sampler III
Pecan Sandy Relief: Zimmer | The Bully Polpette: Christie
         
       

The Bully Polpette: Christie
On December 2nd, Christie was asked about rumors that the September GWB lane closures were associated with his office. Christie replied, “I worked the cones. Unbeknownst to anyone, I was working the cones.” On December 13th, Christie told reporters that he had learned about the lane closures by reading an October article in the Wall Street Journal, which had published Patrick Foye’s email ordering the lanes re-opened. He said that he had met with his senior staff and given them exactly one hour to inform his chief of staff if they had played any role in the lane closures. No one came forward.
On January 8, 2014, the smoking gun emails of Bridget Anne Kelly and David Wildstein were released, confirming the Christie administration’s connection to the lane closures. On January 9th, Christie held a press conference. He said he was “stunned”, emphasizing that he had “no knowledge” of the plan to target the access lanes in Fort Lee. He announced that Kelly had been fired for lying to him and that Bill Stepien had been fired because of his tone in an email in which he called Fort Lee Mayor Sokolich “an idiot”.
On January 16th, Christie hired a legal team headed by Randy Mastro to conduct an internal review of his office’s involvement with the lane closures. Mastro was retained to assist with producing documents in connection with an investigation by the U.S. Attorney.
On January 18th, Mayor Dawn Zimmer came forward with claims that Christie officials had pressured her to approve a land deal in exchange for Hurricane Sandy funds.
On March 27th, Mastro announced that his firm’s investigation of Chris Christie’s office had cleared Christie of any knowledge or involvement in the “lane realignment” scandal.
On May 13th, Michael Drewniak, Christie’s spokesman, testified that David Wildstein had told him on December 4, 2013 that the lane closings and traffic study were his idea, and that he had informed Chris Christie of the traffic study on September 11th. Drewniak said that he relayed this information on December 5th to Christie, who told him he had no recollection of the Wildstein conversation.
Chris Christie, buoyed by the Mastro report, continues to make appearances associated with one who is seeking the presidency. State and federal investigations into the scandals are ongoing.
Bridgegate was immortalized by Bruce Springsteen, Christie’s hero, and Jimmy Fallon in a spoof of “Born to Run” called “Gov. Christie Traffic Jam”.
http://www.northjersey.com/news/chris-christie-and-the-george-washington-bridge-scandal-on-northjersey-com-1.737481.
Reports of possible fraud in the use of Port Authority funds to repair another bridge, the Pulaski Skyway, may pose a greater risk to Chris Christie than the GWB scandal. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/24/nyregion/2nd-bridge-inquiry-said-to-be-linked-to-christie.html. BACK >

         
         
        Putinesca
         
        Putinesca
The United States and its European allies have threatened broad economic and trade sanctions against Russia if it tries to interfere with the May 25th presidential election in Ukraine.
On May 15th, Putin said that Ukraine must pay in advance for gas supplies, beginning June 1st. Ukraine owes 3.5 billion dollars for gas already delivered, according to Putin. It has refused to cover its obligations in protest over Moscow’s decision to double the price for gas. Nearly 15% of all gas consumed in Europe is delivered from Russia through Ukraine. BACK >
         
         
        Tea and Honey II
         
        Tea and Honey II
"No matter the wins and losses in the GOP 'civil war' this year, don't expect this to be the end of that fight. The party remains deeply divided, and both sides have the resources and commitment needed to take the fight into 2015 and 2016. The war is likely to get messier and the division more consequential before the two sides look for ways to bridge their differences. That should please Democrats," wrote Stuart Rothenberg, editor and publisher of the non-partisan Rothenberg Political Report.
On June 10, 2014, House Majority Leader, Eric Cantor (R-Va) lost his primary in stunning fashion to Tea Party challenger, David Brat. It is reported that Cantor spent more on steak dinners than Brat spent on his entire campaign. BACK >
         
       

 

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