Christie lied. An old lady died.

Yes, there was a heart attack victim whose trip to the hospital was delayed by Chris Christie’s gridlock. She didn’t make it.

Turns out my earlier plea for someone to invest some shoe leather into finding people who were seriously damaged by Conegate has been answered.

Emergency responders were delayed in attending to four medical situations – including one in which a 91-year-old woman lay unconscious – due to traffic gridlock caused by unannounced closures of access lanes to the George Washington Bridge, according to the head of the borough’s EMS department. The woman later died, borough records show.

No, of course we can’t be sure she would have survived had she received prompt attention. But now that we know that the gridlock that caused the delay was deliberately caused as an act of political retribution, it seems to me that criminal charges would be fully justified, starting with reckless endangerment. (How is slowing emergency response time different from shooting a gun in the air? In each case, there’s a reckless risk that someone will be hurt or killed.)

And of course once the criminal charges start coming in, one of Christie’s cronies is going to finger him. He wasn’t stupid enough to send any emails, but they weren’t stupid enough to do this without his implicit approval.

As for Christie for President 2016, the technical term is “toast.”

 

Christie’s henchmen lawyer up

Will Wildstein or Baroni “cooperate” with the government against Chris Christie?

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.

Wildstein’s lawyer’s previous clients include Sharpe James, the appallingly corrupt Mayor of Newark replaced by Cory Booker; James wound up spending 18 months in a federal penitentiary. If you’re Christie, that’s just awful; Wildstein didn’t hire a top corruption-defense lawyer just to advise him on how to respond to subpoenas. He clearly thinks he’s in deep doo-doo, and probably in deep Federal doo-doo at that.

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.

In 2009, Mr. Himmel also represented Solomon Dwek, a former real estate investor who pleaded guilty to bank fraud and money laundering charges. Mr. Dwek became an FBI informant in a case brought by Mr. Christie that implicated dozens of elected officials in a widespread corruption investigation.

So 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.