New Jersey To Subpoena Notes Of Investigation
By: Douglas K. Rosenblum
After months of speculation and political crossfire, on March 27, 2014 Gibson Dunn & Crutcher released the report of its investigation into lane closures of the George Washington Bridge. Some critics speculate that the report was not as independent as Governor Christie might claim, as the firm hired to conduct the investigation absolved New Jersey’s governor of any role in the scandal. The 360-page report largely blames Christie’s former Deputy Chief of Staff, Bridget Anne Kelly and Port Authority official David Wildstein for the lane closures and resulting gridlock.
An interesting legal twist is sure to extend the cycle on this story. According to The Associated Press, Bloomberg Businessweek, and the Bergen County Record, New Jersey State Senator Loretta Weinberg and Assemblyman John Wisniewski plan on issuing a subpoena for the notes of the investigation, potentially including any transcripts that exist of multiple interviews conducted within the scope of the investigation. Senator Weinberg told Bloomberg that if Gibson Dunn claims that the notes are privileged communications or attorney work product, “then the public cannot draw any conclusions that this report was done objectively.”
Only time will reveal answers to two key questions: 1. Are the notes of the investigation conducted at the behest of the Governor’s office privileged? 2. If Gibson Dunn and/or the Governor’s office determine that the notes are privileged, will they waive privilege for a strategic purpose?