Gov. Chris Christi’s inner circle continued to implode on Friday with a close ally abruptly resigning and his former deputy chief of staff now willing to talk if she gets immunity.
David Samson, a top Bridgegate figure and the target of a federal probe, quietly surrendered his post as Port Authority chairman. Christie insisted the resignation – effective immediately and tendered under a cloud of suspicion – had nothing to do with the September lane closures on the George Washington Bridge.
Samson’s departure came a day after the results of a widely panned $1 million taxpayer-funded report cleared the governor of any wrongdoing in the Bridgegate scandal. The report did, however, recommend reforms at the bi-state agency that runs the George Washington Bridge.
The Samson resignation may not be Christie’s biggest problem.
Bridget Anne Kelly, who was fired in January, is willing to testify after initially invoking the Fifth Amendment when subpoenaed by a state legislative panel conducting a probe of the Christie administration. But it appears she’ll talk to the feds.
Kelly — whose August 2013 email set the Fort Lee, N.J., gridlock in motion — would fully cooperate if “provided with the appropriate procedural safeguards,” said her lawyer, Michael Critchley.
The defense lawyer made it clear where his client would like to get immunity: “The only credible investigation into the lane closings is being conducted by the U.S. attorney’s office.”
Neither Samson nor his politically connected law firm answered questions or provided documents in the self-serving probe ordered by Gov. Christie and conducted by his own lawyer.
The governor, in announcing Samson’s departure, never mentioned the allegedly punitive gridlock in Fort Lee from Sept. 9 to 12 last year.