Kevin Drum sets the scene:
Last week I mentioned the peculiar story of David Wildstein, the #2 guy at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, who closed down several lanes of the George Washington Bridge last October in apparent retaliation against the mayor of Fort Lee for not supporting Chris Christie's reelection campaign. It all seemed pretty sleazy, but I also figured it was "vanishingly unlikely" that Christie himself had anything to do with this. It was embarrassing for him, but that was all.Mark Kleiman has the details and some speculation:
Today, that may have changed.
The Chris Christie/Ft. Lee/George Washington Bridge lane closure scandal is now moving a warp speed. Now we’ve taken what may be the fatal next step, from “overblown,” “mistakes were made,” and “turning the page” – all markers of a simple scandal – to the point where the people directly implicated decide whether to save their own skins by selling out their bosses.
The Wall Street Journal reports that both David Wildstein and Bill Baroni have now “lawyered up.” If you’re Christie, that’s bad. The Journal also reports that they’ve both hired criminal defense lawyers. If you’re Christie, that’s worse[...]
But the worst news – if you’re Christie – is that Baroni’s lawyer is a former Assistrant U.S. Attorney in New Jersey named Michael Himmel.
.[...]not only does Baroni think he needs serious criminal defense, he’s hired someone with a history of making deals in which his client gets a break in return for implicating everyone else in sight. (The technical term is “cooperation.”) And the only person above Baroni in the pecking order – the only one Baroni can hope to save himself by snitching on – is Gov. Soprano himself.
Now, it’s possible I’m being too optimistic about this. Perhaps Himmel is a Christie loyalist, who will be working to protect his ex-boss as well as his nominal client. But on the surface, this looks about as bad for Christie – which is to say, about as good for the future of the American Republic – as it possibly could.