They say it all: Pictures of FBI agents hauling what media outlets in 2009 called “boxes of evidence” away from the home and office of former New Jersey Assembly Speaker Joseph Doria (D-Hudson). The pictures are all anyone—especially Republican voters in New Hampshire—need to know about the personal and professional integrity of presidential candidate Chris Christie. Well, there is one thing more: they need to know those boxes were empty—because the whole raid on Doria’s home and office, part of a what was termed a “massive crackdown on corruption” was pure theatre, pure fiction, pure lies, pure politics.
Christie’s tenure as US Attorney for New Jersey, the chief federal prosecutor, was nothing less than a corruption of a fundamental American value—that the extraordinary powers of the criminal justice system should never be exploited for personal , political gain.
He used his years as US Attorney to pave his way to the New Jersey governorship and now Christie is running for president. He has tried to resuscitate his failing campaign by exploiting the fear provoked by terrorism in Paris and San Bernadino. He has tried to enthrall at least some people in New Hampshire with his contentions that he alone has actually fought terrorism as a federal prosecutor—indeed, he has said, he prosecuted “two of the most important terrorism cases in the world.”
He is lying. The two cases Christie describes were not terrorist conspiracies at all but FBI stings. Entrapment by any moral definition. Pure theatre. Pure fiction. Pure lies. Pure politics.
But the people of New Hampshire and, maybe the people of the country—God protect the nation if he wins the nomination—need to understand more about his tenure as federal prosecutor before they vote. And that brings us back to the photographs of FBI agents pretending to be removing boxes of evidence from Doria’s home and office. They really say it all.
1. Word went out a day or more before to the media that the raid—and other related actions—would be taking place. It was a media event, one of many orchestrated by Christie while he was the US Attorney. (I know–I received at least 24 hours’ notice of the impending raids). It was part of a pattern Christie used throughout his career—leaking information to friendly reportrs who would be sure to hype the stories about this “crime-fighter.”
2. The federal prosecutor’s office knew—because a government informant had told them—that Doria had played no role at all in the mélange of unrelated “crimes” that provided the justification for the raids that day, July 23, 2009. It took years but Doria, a state cabinet official at the time of the raids, was eventually cleared of any wrong-doing—although he hadn’t been charged.
3. The timing was blatant—the gubernatorial election was just weeks away. While Christie had resigned earlier, he planned the raids and left a close personal friend—and debtor—Michele Brown in charge of it. Brown, who received a $46,000 loan from Christie, still enjoys a spectacular career working in jobs arranged by her old boss.
4. The empty boxes were props, designed to incite the media feeding frenzy that lasted for days after the raids, guaranteeing that Jon Corzine, the incumbent Democratic governor (who fell into Christie’s trap, panicked, and immediately demanded an innocent Doria’s resignation from his cabinet), would lose. Many of the cases generated by the absurdity of Christie’s last sting fell apart—and even many of those who were convicted were guilty of no crime.
See a pattern here? Christie’s collaboration with the media both to advance his own career and destroy that of other politicians who stood in his way. His use of prosecutorial powers to eliminate political enemies. Fiction posing as fact.
It was a pattern followed by Christie for most of his 7-year tenure as New Jersey’s chief federal prosecutor. A gullible main-stream media ate it all up—and made him a hero when they should have been exposing his abuse of government powers and his own corruption. He returned the favors with leaks carefully aimed at the journalists and outlets that could do him the most good politically.
Those leaks helped destroy the careers of Democrats and Republicans who all had one thing in common—they potentially stood in the way of Christie’s march toward higher political office. These politicians, however, are not to be confused with others who were spared investigations because they would one day be useful to Christie’s political ambitions. Can you say George Norcross or Steve Adubato or Joseph DiVincenzo?
More about them later.