Friday, March 28, 2014

Lead Investigator On Why Christie's Exonerated

Randy Mastro, the lead attorney for the Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP team, appeared on Fox News Channel’s “The Kelly File” with Megyn Kelly and “America’s Newsroom” with Martha MacCallum to discuss the findings of his independent third-party review.

Mastro, who is a registered Democrat, talked about his “exhaustive and thorough investigation” that included “more than 70 witnesses and more than 250,000 documents” and found “there’s not a shred of evidence that Governor Christie knew anything about this lane realignment decision before it happened. Not a shred.:

Below are the transcripts of two interviews:

Fox News The Kelly File – Randy Mastro – March 27, 2014

Megyn Kelly: Governor Chris Christie vindicated? That’s the question tonight, as a law firm hired to conduct an internal investigation into a scandal involving his office and traffic jams releases its findings. Tonight, they say Governor Christie was not involved in the so-called Bridgegate plot. But that’s done little to silence the Governor’s critics, who point out the key players in this scandal did not participate in this review. And joining me now in a Kelly File exclusive to discuss it: the attorney who led the investigation, Randy Mastro. Good to see you, Randy.

Randy Mastro: Pleasure to be here.

Kelly: And so you have exonerated the Governor and yet, already – for example, one of the other panels that’s investigation him, the New Jersey Legislative Panel – comes out and says “lawyers hired and paid for by the Christie Administration itself to investigate the Governor’s Office will not be the final word on this.” And they questioned your objectivity and thoroughness. Your thoughts?

Mastro: We did an exhaustive and thorough investigation. We interviewed more than 70 witnesses, reviewed more than 250,000 documents and have produced to that legislative committee over 50,000 pages of documents. There’s not a shred of evidence that Governor Christie knew anything about this lane realignment decision before it happened. Not a shred.

Kelly: And yet, one of the criticisms against you is that you and your law firm are tied in with the Governor and that you had a bias, you had a preconceived notion. How long have you know him?

Mastro: I met Governor Christie for the first time the day he hired us in mid-January.

Kelly: But you used to work for Rudy Giuliani, who’s tight with the Governor, who, a lot of his aides moved over to the Governor’s Office. Rudy Giuliani ever talk to you about this?

Mastro: Rudy Giuliani and I have never had an extended conversation about this. I was honored to serve in his administration, but as Rudy knows, I’m an independent and registered Democrat.

Kelly: Are you?

Mastro: I’ve represented Mayor DeBlasio. I’ve represented Bill Thompson, who was almost elected mayor.

Kelly: Did you go into this with an open mind?

Mastro: Completely. Because, Megyn, you’ve got to understand. It serves no one’s interest - not mine or my law firm’s, not Governor Christie’s, not the Governor’s Office or the people of the state of New Jersey - for us to do anything other than to try to get to the truth. There are these other investigations coming. We believe we’ve gotten to the truth. And we will be judged by whether we got it right. We believe we got it right.

Kelly: You say, besides Bridget Anne Kelly – the one who sent the email saying “time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee” – you found no evidence that anyone else in the Governor’s Office knew of this idea.

Mastro: Correct.

Kelly: But that’s not the same as saying no one knew of this idea in advance. You found no evidence of it. But the critics are saying that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist because you couldn’t talk to, you know, David Wildstein, Bridget Anne Kelly, or to this other guy Stepien.

Mastro: Here’s the rub. Certain people who are the focus of the investigation – like Kelly, like Wildstein – they’ve taken the Fifth Amendment. They’re not talking to me, they’re not talking to the Legislature, they’re not talking to the U.S. Attorney. But…

Kelly: Did you get, see their emails?

Mastro: …But we saw many of their emails and we saw the private emails and texts of the Governor, Lt. Governor, his current senior staff…

Kelly: He handed over his iPhone to you?

Mastro: Absolutely. And let me tell you this, let me tell you this, Megyn. The fact of the matter is we look at the hard evidence, we look to see what the documents show. The hard evidence shows the Governor had no role in this whatsoever and knew nothing about it beforehand. And last thing…

Kelly: The other thing I want to get to because I’m short on time.

Mastro: Please.

Kelly: The one piece of the report that’s not very good for Governor Christie is his aide David Wildstein, the guy at the Port Authority apparently is claiming that he did inform the Governor about the lane closures a September 11th Memorial. And I know the Governor says that he doesn’t remember that, he’s critics view that as the smoking gun. One of the guys involved claims he did tell the Governor about it. You have thirty seconds, I apologize for the shortness.

Mastro: I understand why that is both questionable and not significant. That’s what Wildstein claimed at a time when he realized that he was going to have to resign. And Wildstein claiming that he mentioned a traffic issue would not have been a meaningful event to the Governor. It’s the alterative motive: who knew about the alterative motive for a traffic study? There’s no allegation that anyone ever said alterative motives to the Governor. And the fact of the matter is: the Governor didn’t know beforehand; the Governor acted appropriately afterward and took appropriate steps. And in fact, Bridget Kelly covered up with her colleagues. She asked another colleague to destroy one of her emails that would have shown her participation in this – keeping it from the Governor and his Chief of Staff.

Kelly: I’ve got to go. Great to see you. Thank you for being here.

Mastro: Thank you Megyn.

Fox News America's Newsroom w/Bill Hemmer-Martha MacCallum – Randy Mastro – March 28, 2014

Martha MacCallum: All right, back to one of our top stories of the day. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is going to hold a news conference today at 2:30 PM Eastern after the release of a 344-page report that has cleared him of wrongdoing in the bridge lane closing scandal. Now the Governor sat down last night with ABC’s Diane Sawyer after this report came out.

Governor Christie: This report says that I had no knowledge of it before it happened, nor did I authorize it, and/or have anything to do with it. Not clueless, but it certainly makes me feel taken advantage of and also more importantly I feel like I let people down.

Martha MacCallum: Randy Mastro is the lead attorney in this investigation, into the Governor’s administration and he joins me now. Randy, welcome. Good to have you here.

Randy Mastro: Pleasure to be here Martha.

Martha MacCallum: You have said that you didn’t have a relationship with Governor Christie before this investigation because the criticism is that this is an inside investigation and that it reflects that way on him well.

Randy Mastro: I met him the first time in January the day we were hired. I had never spoken to him before that, never met him before that. Yes, I was Rudy Giuliani’s deputy mayor, proud to have served in his administration.

Martha MacCallum: Who has been a big supporter of the Governor.

Randy Mastro: Proud to have served in his administration, but I’m a lifelong Democrat. I’ve represented Bill DeBlasio, Bill Thompson who was almost mayor of New York City, Betsy Gotbaum, a Democrat who was our public advocate, other Democrats. I had no relationship with Chris Christie. I am a lawyer, former federal prosecutor who led a team of former federal prosecutors with more than fifty years of government experience to do a professional investigation to get to the truth.

Martha MacCallum: Their reputations as well as yours are on the line here, and that will be the question when they do the two other investigations. There’s a New Jersey state ongoing investigation into this matter as well as a federal investigation, so there’s two more hurdles for the Governor to cross here. Are you confident that they will be consistent with your finding that he knew nothing about it, that it was really Bridget Anne Kelly, the only person in his administration who had any knowledge of it.

Randy Mastro: Well I’m confident because we follow the evidence and the facts, and the evidence and the facts tell us that Governor Christie had no knowledge of this lane realignment decision before it was made and he played no role whatsoever in the decision to realign these lanes.

Martha MacCallum: How much of an impact—you did not have access to Bridget Anne Kelly’s e-mails or Bill Stepien’s e-mails or David Wildstein’s e-mails. Is that correct?

Randy Mastro: No, that’s not correct, so let me try and explain.

Martha MacCallum: OK.

Randy Mastro: What we had access to, because it was really extraordinary and unfettered access to documents in the Governor’s Office, even personal e-mails and texts of the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, senior staffers, even former senior staffers, and as to David Wildstein and Bill Baroni, another person who has been mentioned in connection with these allegations—

Martha MacCallum: That’s right.

Randy Mastro: Both of them produced documents, including their personal e-mails and text messages in response to the legislative committee’s subpoenas.

Martha MacCallum: So you’re not concerned—I understand what you’re saying. You’re not concerned that there’s an e-mail that’s going to surface between Bridget Anne Kelly and the Governor that’s going to come up in these investigations—

Randy Mastro: I am not.

Martha MacCallum: That will make you say oh, we didn’t have that. You’re not concerned.

Randy Mastro: I am absolutely not, because we had access to the personal e-mails and texts within the Governor’s Office of the Governor and his other senior staffers.

Martha MacCallum: I understand. You got one end of the whole thing. But I want to ask you another thing about Bridget Anne Kelly and the suggestion in this report that there was a romantic relationship going on between her and Bill Stepien and that she was very emotional because one of the criticisms this morning is that you’re trying to make, that this report is trying to make I should say, David Wildstein looked like a crazy guy who had lots of crazy notions and things he wanted to carry out, had nothing to do with the Governor, and that she was unstable almost, emotional and dealing with some personal relationship issues.

Randy Mastro: Well, let’s be crystal clear. That fact, the short period of a personal relationship, and then, when it cooled, the lack of communication, that they weren’t speaking as of the first week of August is a relevant fact for among other reasons that this decision – Kelly green lighting Wildstein’s proposal occurs…

Martha MacCallum: To close the lanes.

Randy Mastro: …to close the lanes. That occurs in a now infamous email on August 13th: time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee. That is after Kelly and Stepien are estranged and no longer speaking. Therefore, it is relevant to the way in which they communicated. Stepien is her former boss.

Martha MacCallum: Right.

Randy Mastro: Stepien goes out to run the campaign and they continue to communicate and consult about politically sensitive issues. They cease to do that by the first week of August, and that speaks not simply to Kelly and to how she communicated and what she doing, but to also about Stepien.

Martha MacCallum: You’re saying there was a behind the scenes thing going on that lead her to want to do this independent act and cause this controversy.

Randy Mastro: Well, it’s that the normal lines of communications were not going on during this period. And if Bill Stepien, who apparently was not involved in the decision itself, and not consulted about the decision itself. He knew of the idea and passed it on to Trenton, that’s what the evidence shows that we uncovered. He was out of that loop when normally decisions like this would have been made with Kelly and Stepien speaking. It speaks to both of them – both of their own state of mind.

Martha MacCallum: So you’re saying it was an unusual moment in time in terms of communication within the Administration…

Randy Mastro: Or lack of communication that might have prevented this from happening in the first place.

Martha MacCallum: Exactly. Understood. Alight, it’s very interesting.

Randy Mastro: Among other reasons.

Martha MacCallum: Randy, thank you very much for being here. We’ll look forward to talking to you as this progresses.

Randy Mastro: Thank you.

Martha MacCallum: Thank you sir.

Randy Mastro: Pleasure.

Martha MacCallum: You bet.

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