Tag Archives: New Jersey

Two NJ Teachers’ Union Presidents Suspended After Defending Abusive Teachers On Camera

(DCNF) The presidents of two New Jersey teachers’ unions have been suspended following the release of videos in which the officials offered to lie to protect abusive school teachers and protected a teacher that had sex with a student, The Washington Free Beacon reports.

Hamilton Township Education Association President David Perry and Union City Education Association President Kathleen Valencia made the comments separately to undercover agents with Project Veritas, a conservative activist group known for its controversial sting operations.

The New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) announced in a statement it was conducting a review of its local affiliates and members in wake of the videos’ release.

“NJEA does not, in any instance, condone the abuse or mistreatment of children or the failure to properly report allegations of abuse,” NJEA said. “To ensure that appropriate practices are followed, we are commissioning an independent review of the practices of our local affiliates and staff. The purpose of that review is to ensure that every staff member and local affiliate leader understands and clearly communicates the responsibility of all school employees to report any suspected abuse of children.”

While both Perry and Valencia have been suspended, the NJEA also seemed to prep a defense for the embattled presidents in its statement.

“With regard to the videos recently released, the source of the videos in question deserves careful scrutiny,” NJEA said in a statement. “It is very important to note that the operatives are not speaking about real individuals or incidents. Their false allegations are entirely fabricated for the purpose of creating a false narrative. They then deceptively edit those videos for political purposes, with no regard for truth or honesty.”

While the narratives used by the Veritas operatives were made up, both Perry and Valencia referenced presumably real cases in which they protected teachers who committed crimes. In Velencia’s case, she claimed to have covered up a case of sexual misconduct between a teacher and student.

WATCH: Project Veritas’ sting on Valencia

“This file right here is from a teacher who had sex with a student, OK? You’re not going to jail,” Valencia says in the Veritas video. “This file is about whether or not the teacher gets to keep his pension. Sex with a teenage girl. Is he going to jail? No. How come? Because the child’s not pressing charges.”

“They have no proof there was sex,” Valencia added.

WATCH: Project Veritas’ sting on Perry

 

“God forbid if a child, and I hate to keep using this, was sexually mistreated and the person came to me and said, ‘Listen, Dave, I made a mistake.’ First of all, I’m going to be pissed off because you don’t do that,” Perry said in the video. “But it’s my job. It’s almost like I’m a priest. It’s my job to protect.”

“The worst teachers in the world, I have defended,” Perry added.

Hamilton Township Superintendent Scott Rocco said in a Wednesday statement that Perry, at least the way he represented himself in the video, does not represent, “the true beliefs and values of this school,” according to NJ.com.

Written by Tim Pearce: Follow Tim Pearce on Twitter

 

This article was republished with permission from the Daily Caller News Foundation.

NJ High School Revises Gun Policy Following Student Suspension Reports

Lanoka Harbor, NJ — Two New Jersey high school students were allegedly suspended after one reportedly posted a gun photo on Snapchat that showed “four rifles, ammunition [magazines], and a gun duffel bag” taken during a family visit to a shooting range with the caption “fun day at the range,” according to Lacey Township resident Amanda Buron, who said she was a family friend of one of the students.

NJ.com reported that Buron claimed the students received a five-day in-school suspension for violating the school’s policy on weapons possession after a screen shot of the image circulated among students and social media, and was eventually brought to the attention of the Lacey Township High School administration.

The school faced a swift backlash over the reported suspensions, as the Association of New Jersey Rifle & Pistol Clubs (ANJRPC) sent a cease and desist letter to the school district, which noted that the school district’s weapons policy allowed students to be suspended for up to a year if “reported to be in possession of a weapon of any type for any reason or purpose on or off school grounds.”

The ANJRPC noted that they were prepared to take legal action if the policy wasn’t modified.

“The policy is clearly wrong and violates the Second Amendment,” ANJRPC executive director Scott Bach said. “We hope that they’re reasonable people and they will fix it. If they don’t, we’re prepared to take legal action.”

Bach also pointed out that schools lack the authority to “chill the rights of their students off of school grounds.”

“Schools do not have the authority to chill the rights of their students off of school grounds, and this blatant infringement of constitutional rights will not be tolerated,” Bach said. “I don’t care if no students were disciplined. The policy has got to go.”

After being threatened with a lawsuit, last week, by the ANJRPC, the Lacey school district quietly revised the policy in question, which prohibited students from legally handling a gun off campus. The policy now omits any mention of possessing a weapon off school grounds, nor a specific suspension length for offenders.

“Students are forbidden to carry any type of weapon or simulated weapon to school,” the revamped policy states, which can be accessed on the district’s website.

Bach told NJ.com that his organization considers the district’s policy change a victory, but is currently reviewing it.

“It addresses many of the major issues we identified, but our counsel is still reviewing it,” Bach said.

Bach also took issue with the district’s failure to take responsibility. “Instead of the superintendent fessing up and admitting the policy was wrong, they try this misdirection,” Bach proclaimed.

In an email to NJ Advance Media, on Thursday, Lacey schools Superintendent Craig Wigley said that “information posted on social media is incorrect” and that student privacy laws prevents him for commenting on the matter, declining to say what aspect of the account was inaccurate.

“We are not at will to contradict public opinion on the internet,” Wigley wrote.

Although the policy has been modified, the social media uproar over the boys suspension could potentially lead to a large turnout at a school board meeting scheduled for Monday evening at Lacey Township High School.

Democratic N.J. Legislator Introduces Bill to Criminalize Texting While Walking

Democratic N.J. Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt has introduced a bill that would criminalize the act of texting while walking on a public roadway.

According to CBS New York, if the bill were to pass, violators would face a fine of $50, fifteen days in jail, or both.

Coverage of the proposal by Philly Voice and NJ.com interpreted the bill’s text as also banning texting while walking on a public sidewalk.

[RELATED: Kansas Supreme Court Overturns Law Criminalizing DUI Test Refusals]

If a person on the road — whether walking or driving — presents a risk to others on the road, there should be a law in place to dissuade and penalize risky behavior,” said Democratic Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt.

Distracted pedestrians, like distracted drivers, present a potential danger to themselves and drivers on the road. As people’s behaviors change so must our policy,” she added in a statement cited by NJ.com.

Lampitt told the Mahwah Patch that she was inspired to propose the bill after a University of Pennsylvania student that she knew personally was fatally hit by a bus while using his phone as he crossed the street.

We need to have people be more aware of what’s going on around them,” she said.

New Jersey resident Michael Graichen said in comments to CBS New York, “I think it’s a pretty silly thing. All the problems we have in the world, we have to worry about somebody walking down the street texting. Maybe some of these politicians should worry about real problems we have in New Jersey.

[RELATED: New Illinois “Eavesdropping Law” Distorts Ability To Record Law Enforcement]

N.J. crossing guard Ed Rose said that he believes that texting while walking is a problem and told WABC-TV, “People don’t even grab their phone and look at it until they step into the street. And it’s dangerous.

The bill includes exemptions for people using their phones for emergency reasons and for those using hands-free Bluetooth technology.

Follow Barry Donegan on Facebook and Twitter.

Report: N.J. Gov. Christie Has Spent Over Half of 2015 Campaigning Out-of-State

N.J. Governor Chris Christie has reportedly already attended out-of-state presidential campaign events on 141 days in 2015 so far.

A report by New Jersey Watchdog’s Mark Lagerkvist, in which he refers to Governor Christie as a “virtual phantom in the Garden State” since his presidential campaign began earlier this year, notes that a brief Tuesday speech at a N.J. hospital to draw attention to a drug addiction task force that he launched last year was Christie’s first in-state appearance as governor in 51 days.

Though NJTV News characterized Christie’s appearance on Tuesday in the above-embedded video as about “drug addiction and not about presidential politics,” Christie’s speech touted his record on drug treatment and included some of the same rhetoric that he used during an exchange with Senator Paul, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina about drug addiction at last week’s CNN Republican presidential debate.

I often tease some of my friends in the Republican party who join me as being someone who believes in life and being pro-life, first of all you got to be pro-life for longer than just when they’re in the womb… And we have to be pro-life for the folks, like the 16-year-old drug addict laying on the floor of the county lock up,” said Christie at Tuesday’s speech.

NJTV News pointed out that Christie “was in a big hurry, as he did not answer any questions on his way in and out of [Tuesday’s] event.

During CNN’s September 16 Republican presidential debate, Christie also emphasized his record on drug treatment to defend himself against accusations that he would lock up medical marijuana patients as president. Said Christie at the debate, “New Jersey is the first state in the nation that now says if you are a non-violent, non-dealing drug user that you don’t go to jail for your first offense, you go to mandatory treatment. You see… I’m pro life, and I think you need to be pro life for more than just the time in the womb… when there’s a 16-year-old addict in the floor of the county lock up, that life is just as precious as the life in the womb.

Whether intended or not, Christie’s first appearance in-state as governor in 51 days also helped emphasize a part of his record that he recently injected into his 2016 presidential campaign messaging.

[RELATED: Chris Christie: The U.S. Should Track Immigrants Like FedEx Tracks Packages]

The Star Ledger’s Paul Mulshine wrote, “Whenever the governor is out of state… Kim Guadagno steps up from her post as lieutenant governor to assume the duties. Theoretically she could sign bills, issue executive orders and so on. She doesn’t, of course, but she could do so under our constitution. As of Tuesday, 265 days had passed in 2015. Guadagno held the title of governor for at least part of 141 of them. That’s well more than half. Meanwhile the governor has been governor for only 124 full days so far this year, or about four of nine months.

Mulshine also questioned whether a Christie gaffe at CNN’s Republican presidential debate in which he said “when I was governor” was a “Freudian slip.

Governor Christie, who appointed a new state comptroller on Tuesday, says that he is able to keep up with his duties as governor remotely via internet, email, and telephone.

For more election coverage, click here.

Exclusive Interview: Father, Wrongfully Jailed for Owning Guns, Fights for Reunion with Son

Webby award winning marketing consultant and father Brian Aitken’s life was turned upside down in January of 2009 when New Jersey police arrested him on felony gun charges as he was attempting to move his possessions, including lawfully-owned firearms, across the US from Colorado to New Jersey in an effort to live nearer to his son. Aitken was subsequently sentenced to seven years in prison, only to later be released after four months behind bars when New Jersey Governor Chris Christie commuted his sentence in response to an overwhelming volume of calls by gun rights activists. Though an appeals court later threw out two of the three charges, a family court ruling still prevents Aitken from being involved in his son Logan’s life. He has not seen his son in almost seven years and has launched a crowd-funding campaign, described in the above-embedded video, to raise funds for a legal challenge in an effort to regain his parental rights. The family court ruling that prevents Aiken from seeing his son sets a dangerous precedent allowing courts to take away citizens’ children on the basis of their gun ownership.

BenSwann.com writer Barry Donegan obtained an exclusive interview with Brian Aitken, transcribed below, in which he opened up about his struggles as a victim of overzealous gun laws.

Barry Donegan: “Explain how it came to pass that you were arrested while attempting to move your possessions cross-country, including legally-acquired firearms, from Colorado to New Jersey.”

Brian Aitken: “My son was born in Colorado in early 2008 but, for reasons I talk about in my memoir, things weren’t working out with the marriage. Within months my former wife moved to New Jersey with my son to be closer to our families. I gave up my job and put the house up for sale shortly thereafter so I could be closer to my son and play an active role in his life. Once I got there, though, my former wife began withholding custody of my son. She was using him as a poker chip as if to say ‘I’ll trade you your son, if you give me X, Y, and Z.’ On the day I was arrested, I was moving from my parents house into an apartment in Hoboken with my legally owned guns locked and unloaded in the trunk of my car. She had canceled my visitation for the fourth week in a row when I told my mom I ‘didn’t see the point in being here’ if I couldn’t see my son. Eventually, maybe fifteen or twenty minutes after I left my parents home, my mother called 9-1-1, immediately thought better of it, and hung up the phone. By then it was too late, the call had already been placed, and the police responded to an abandoned 9-1-1 call. From that point forward I was the subject of a gun-hunt. I was never the suspect of any sort of crime and, as the trial testimony shows, not even the police officers thought I was a threat to myself or anyone else. They just wanted my guns and were willing to do just about anything to get them.”

Barry Donegan: “What steps did you take in an effort to learn how to transport the guns legally given the different state laws on guns?”

Brian Aitken: “I flew with them from Colorado to New Jersey with TSA clearance and called the New Jersey State Police three days before I moved to make sure I understood how to transport firearms. I did exactly what the State Police told me to do.”

Barry Donegan: “What is your background as a gun owner in terms of training and experience with handling firearms? Did you pass a federal background check for your guns? What types of guns were they?”

Brian Aitken: “I was only a gun owner for about a year before I was arrested but my family has a history of expert firearms use. My grandfather was a designated marksman in World War II and when I was ten he promised me he’d teach me how to shoot as soon as I turned thirteen. I remember counting down the days to my thirteenth birthday months in advance. My uncle was also a handgun instructor at the Philadelphia Police Academy and my father and I went to the shooting range on occasion, but I never owned a firearm until I became a father and felt compelled to be able to protect my family. I passed all the appropriate background checks and went through the ATF, FBI and CBI in order to purchase my firearms.”

Barry Donegan: “Is it correct that you were charged with possessing high-capacity magazines despite only having the magazines that came with the guns at the point of purchase? How did it feel when you read that The Trentonian characterized your bullets as ‘cop-killer bullets’ despite the fact that you and your family have always respected police officers?”

Brian Aitken: “That’s correct. The State of New Jersey charged me with possessing ‘high capacity magazines’ which, in reality, were the standard-capacity magazines issued by Smith & Wesson. New Jersey gives very standard things scary names in an effort to vilify gun owners, exactly the same way The Trentonian said I had ‘cop-killer bullets.’ By the time that article came out I had become so used to being treated like scum for owning guns that it didn’t even phase me.”

Barry Donegan: “What penalties did you face upon conviction? How did your firearms conviction impact your custodial rights to visitation with your son?”

Brian Aitken: “I was sentenced to seven years in prison with a minimum mandatory sentence of three years before I’d be eligible for parole. The conviction didn’t really impact my custody of my son, but the charges did. Nine months before I even went to trial a family court judge decided that I should only be allowed to see my son in a room reserved in a courthouse under the direct supervision of a police officer because I could own firearms. I didn’t even own guns at the time, the Mount Laurel Police Department had them as evidence, but because I could technically still own them I was practically banned from seeing my son. All of this for the violentless and victimless ‘crime’ of possessing guns I owned legally.”

Barry Donegan: “What solutions did the judge assigned to your case offer in terms of allowing you visitation with your son? Have you been able to see your son, and, if not, why?”

Brian Aitken: “I am only allowed to see my son for one hour a week inside the Ocean County Family Court, in a room reserved in advance, with a police officer scheduled to supervise the visitation. As you can imagine, it’s incredibly difficult for all of those things to line up at the same time and in six years they never have. If I spend several thousand dollars more they’ll consider changing this, but at the time I didn’t have ten dollars let alone the thousands they were extorting me for.

The way the court turns this from a temporary to a permanent injunction is by ordering someone to pay for transcripts and additional paperwork for additional hearings, that can climb beyond $5,000 pretty quickly. Transcripts alone can easily run over a thousand dollars. All the while, my child support obligations doubled based upon what the judge felt I could earn–he imputed my income at being three times greater than I had actually earned in any year of my entire life–and I quickly found myself unable to pay the ransom they were demanding. They used financial sanctions to drown me in debt and keep me from seeing my son.”

Barry Donegan: “How long did you spend in prison before Chris Christie commuted your sentence? Did you believe while you were there that you might have to serve the full seven-year sentence?”

Brian Aitken: “I spent four months behind bars before Governor Christie commuted my sentence. I had turned down almost a dozen plea deals before trial and had tried to prepare myself mentally to spend at least three years in prison before either getting out on parole or appeal. My entire family prepared for the worst.”

Barry Donegan: “How did it feel when you found out that gun rights activists from across the country rallied to your support? How did you feel when you heard the news that Governor Christie commuted your sentence?”

Brian Aitken: “There aren’t any words to describe what it felt like to find out people from all across the country were out there rallying for my freedom. For so long I had faced the courts alone and then, out of nowhere, all of these amazing people were calling and writing the governor’s office demanding that I be released from prison. So many people called Governor Christie’s office that the lines crashed. I didn’t know any of these people, but I owe them so much. They kept me company with their letters and gave me hope. I was in solitary for protective custody when I found out Governor Christie had commuted my sentence. It was surreal. It didn’t hit me for a few days.”

Barry Donegan: “Considering the fact that Chris Christie only commuted your sentence to time served rather than pardoning you and given the fact that an appeals court cleared you of the charges related to the possession of the guns and alleged high-capacity magazines, but let stand the conviction pertaining to the hollow point bullets, what ongoing hurdles do you face as a result of your convictions? What is the current legal status of your case?”

Brian Aitken: “Well, because it’s legal to own hollow point ammunition in New Jersey but it’s illegal to transport it from one house to another while you’re moving, I’m still a convicted felon. I can’t vote. I can’t pass a background check and I’m almost universally denied all rental applications. I’m working on changing all of that, but it’s a long process especially when you realize I’ve been fighting this for over six years now.”

Barry Donegan: “Tell us about your book, The Blue Tent Sky. How has it been received? Where can readers obtain a copy?”

Brian Aitken: “I realized that my son is out there somewhere and, where ever he is, there are people telling him something about his father. He’s probably been told that I’m either a deadbeat dad or dead when, in reality, I’ve been asking the courts and his mother to let me see him for years. I wrote the book so my son could, one day, know the truth about major events that impacted his relationship with his father for the years to come. It became Amazon’s #1 bestselling eBook for Constitutional Law and Penology and received some pretty high praise from people like Clark Neily at the Institute for Justice, Dick Heller of DC v Heller, and Wayne Olson of the Cato Institute. It’s available on Amazon, at Barnes & Noble, and at some of the great indie bookstores across the country.”

Barry Donegan: “Tell us about your current crowd-funding campaign to help you reunite with your son.”

Brian Aitken: “I’m hosting a thirty-day crowd-funding campaign to help raise funds to reunite me with my son. I’ve already used the proceeds from the sale of the book to retain one of the best family law firms in New Jersey, but I’ve been here before and I know the fight that’s to come. I need to be prepared for the long game and, unfortunately, that involves paying a lawyer a lot of money. The campaign has a bunch of amazing perks including a Springfield 1911 from Omaha Outdoors, a custom Glock 17 from Glockstore.com, and a competition grade AR-15 from Spikes Tactical. Plus, every person who donates $100 or more gets a $1,000 2 Day Defensive Handgun Course from the legendary Front Sight Training Institute in Nevada.

For the record, I’d much rather this money pay for my son to go to college than pay for my lawyers kids to go to college. I’d like to publicly offer to take the balance of my lawyers retainer and put it in a trust account for my son if my ex-wife agrees to lay down arms and work out a reasonable parenting time plan with me. I want to work this out like mature adults who want the best for their child. I don’t think that’s a crazy thing to ask for.”

Barry Donegan: “How does it feel to not be able to see your son as a result of the fallout from this case?”

Brian Aitken: “It feels horrible. He just turned seven years old a couple weeks ago and I’ve never even heard his voice before. I was so excited to be a father and then, one day, the State of New Jersey just took that away from me. My son deserves to have a father. No one in my family is allowed to see him. His own grandmother hasn’t been able to see him in years. It’s broken her heart. My mother can’t even bear to say his name without breaking down in tears. He was just stolen from us, and for what? Because I owned guns? It’s insane. It’s just not right.”

Aitken’s crowd-funding campaign, entitled Logan’s Heroes in honor of his son, is ongoing until March 19, 2015.

Dashboard camera video shows New Jersey man shot by officers

New video footage has been released showing the fatal shooting of a New Jersey man by police officers during a traffic stop.

The video comes from the dashboard camera of officers Braheme Days and Roger Worley. In the video, we see the officers begin a routine traffic stop on a Jaguar, but then, orders are ignored, guns are drawn, and shots are fired, and the result is the death of one man.

Jerame Reid, 36, was in the passenger seat of the vehicle which was driven by Leroy Tutt at the time of the traffic stop. At first, the officers approach the vehicle and inform both people in the car they were being pulled over for failing to stop at a stop sign.

After informing the vehicle why they were being stopped, Days pulls his weapon out and tells the occupants, “Show me your hands.” According to CBS News, Days informs Worley of a gun in the vehicle’s glove box, and Days appears to reach in the vehicle and remove the weapon.

Both officers are seen with their weapons still raised, and Tutt places both of his empty hands out the window. Days continues to shout at Reid not to move and warning him, “I’m going to shoot you.” Reid then reportedly says, “I’m getting out and getting on the ground.”

Once the passenger side door opens, Reid steps out and his hands appear to be empty, and both officers fire at least six shots, killing Reid.

The officers then tell Tutt to get out of  the car,which he does, and the officers proceed to handcuff and take him into custody.

Several witnesses at this time can be heard shouting at the officers and other squad cars begin to pull up to the scene. One witness, Tahli Dawkins, told NBC Philadelphia, “He had nothing in his hands… He had his hands up trying to get out of the car, one on the door was getting out like this and he just started shooting him.”

The video speaks for itself that at no point was Jerame Reid a threat and he possessed no weapon on his person,” Walter Hudson, chairman and founder of the civil rights group the National Awareness Alliance, said, according to the AP. “He complied with the officer and the officer shot him.”

A firearm was recovered from the scene, according to the Cumberland County Prosecutor’s Office, but because this is an ongoing investigation, they refused to comment further.

Both officers are on paid administrative leave while the investigation takes place.

The video can be seen here.

NJ Muslims Seek Reversal in Case that Allowed NYPD Mass Surveillance

On Tuesday, a group of New Jersey Muslims went before the Federal Court of appeals, in hopes of reversing a ruling in the district court from February 2014, which justified the New York Police Department’s massive surveillance program that targeted Muslims as potential terrorists, solely because of their religion.

The Guardian reported that the case has 11 plaintiffs, including “an Iraq war veteran, university students, a coalition of mosques, and the head of a religious school for girls.”

According to the Associated Press, the three-judge panel “questioned whether police had any specific leads to justify the surveillance of Muslim businesses, mosques and student groups in New Jersey following 9/11.”

After the decision was made to dismiss the Civil Rights lawsuit in February 2014, Judge William Martini claimed that the “motive of the surveillance program was not solely to discriminate against Muslims, but rather to find Muslim terrorists hiding among ordinary, law-abiding Muslims.”

According to the Huffington Post, Muslims such as Imam Abdul Muhammad said attendance at his Newark, New Jersey, mosque “dropped by half,” and Farhaj Hassan said he “feared for his position in the Army Reserve,” because of the massive surveillance program.

However, in Judge Martini’s 2014 ruling, he claimed that any damages done by the surveillance program only occurred after the Associated Press revealed that it was being conducted in 2012.

The Guardian reported that starting in 2002, the NYPD dispatched “plainclothes officers or ‘rakers’ to Muslim neighborhoods in New Jersey, monitoring bookstores, bars, nightclubs and cafes” to compile surveillance papers that catalogued “religiously oriented facts.”

According to the Associated Press, the three U.S. Circuit Judges received the case on Tuesday, were critical of the program, asking a lawyer for New York City questions such as, “You’ve got to admit there are a lot of people in this country that became prejudiced against Muslims after 9/11,” and “Whether that includes the people who have instituted the surveillance practice in New York City – how can we know at this point?

The Huffington Post reported that following the hearing, “plaintiffs and their lawyers expressed optimism that the appeals judges will overturn Martini’s ruling.”

We definitely put a good foot forward,” said Farhaj Hassan, the lead plaintiff in the case. “Today was a very, very good day for America.

Christie’s Cronyism? NJ Governor Gave Sweetheart Deal to Firm Owned by Dallas Cowboys’ Jerry Jones

Dallas Cowboys fan and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was seen in sports news highlight reels hugging and celebrating in a luxury box with Cowboys owner Jerry Jones last Sunday as the Texas team defeated the Detroit Lions in the first round of the NFL playoffs. Jones has been treating Christie as his personal good luck charm, flying the governor down to experience a Cowboys playoff game on Jones’ dime, and has even suggested that, if his team keeps winning, he might endorse Christie for president in 2016.

However, Chris Christie, who snubbed his own state’s football teams in order to continue rooting for his childhood favorite, is facing new corruption allegations over his lucrative friendship with Jerry Jones. The rumored 2016 presidential candidate’s reputation recently took a hit when he was accused of closing lanes on the George Washington bridge to create traffic problems in an alleged attempt to punish a political rival. Now, according to International Business Times, Governor Christie is facing additional allegations that, two years ago, he personally pushed for a firm owned by Jerry Jones to receive a lucrative Port Authority contract.

Democratic New Jersey Assemblyman John Wisniewski, the lawmaker who first investigated the George Washington bridge scandal, is considering launching an additional investigation into Christie’s relationship with Jones. Wisniewski told ABC News, “The governor of the state of New Jersey should be above being influenced by that type of gratuity: air fare for his entire family and self and tickets to a game… It certainly looks really bad…. I’m not going to argue the fact that the rules he is obliged to follow may in fact create a personal exception, but what I will argue is he should not have availed himself of that because it looks bad. It set a bad precedent.”

Chris Christie’s office claims that, though his state’s ethics rules bar officials from accepting gifts from persons or organizations receiving contracts from the state, an executive order exempts gifts from personal friends of the governor from that ban. Christie argues that Jones is a personal friend and, as such, it is legal for the two to exchange gifts. Wisniewski said of the exemption, “They are friends because he happens to be the governor and therein lies the problem.”

In April of 2013, Christie and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed off on a deal between Jones’ firm Legends Hospitality LLC and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, granting the company a lucrative contract to run an observation deck at the top of One World Trade. The Washington Post notes that the deal is expected to earn the Port Authority $875 million over 15 years. Legends Hospitality LLC is co-owned by the New York Yankees, Dallas Cowboys, and Checketts Partners Investment Fund. Chris Christie also gave $18 million in taxpayer-funded subsidies to the National Football League prior to receiving the free airfare and playoff tickets.

In an effort to estimate the value of Jones’ gift to Christie, USC Marshall Sports Business Institute executive director David M. Carter told NJ.com, “For games such as Sunday’s, and extending further into the playoffs, the value of any suite ticket could easily be deemed priceless by many fans for whom that game day experience would likely be a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

Exclusive Interview: Memoir Shows Dark Side of Liberal Gun Control Crusade

In “The Blue Tent Sky: How The Left’s War On Guns Cost Me My Son and My Freedom,” Brian Aitken tells a harrowing tale of injustice when he was sentenced to seven years in prison for possessing weapon that he had the legal right to own.

He lost everything. His freedom and the custody of his son. After spending four months in prison, Aitken’s cause was championed by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie demanded his release.

“Aitken tells his story with a winning combination of the naivety he began with and the hard knowledge he’s learned. He writes to some degree out of a desire for vengeance via exposure on those in the judicial system who wronged him, yet his tone is mostly admirably restrained. He trusts the reader will see the injustice he suffered so doesn’t feel the need to rail about it. He tells his story; he doesn’t try to oversell it,” wrote Brian Doherty of Reason.com.

Aitken’s story is a worthy read. The gist of his story has to do with New Jersey’s Graves Act, which imposes mandatory sentences on certain gun-related crimes.

Some background, Aitken doesn’t have a criminal record and is a fully legal gun owner. The guns in his possession were purchased with his now-estranged wife, who he was fighting with over his then infant son.

Aitken’s “crime” stems from a incident involving an off-handed remark he made to his mother, who then called 911 and hung up. Meanwhile Aitkens is driving, and his life changes in an instant.

“The police show up. They call Aitken, still driving. They threaten him with a statewide manhunt if he doesn’t voluntarily drive back to his parents’ house. They threaten to send him on a 72-hour psych lockdown to pressure him into agreeing to let them search his car. During the search   they find the guns that he insists—and no evidence the state ever presented contradicted—he had put in the trunk earlier that day, unloaded, and was preparing to move them from his parents’ house to his new home, both in New Jersey,” wrote Doherty.

The police arrest Aitken for possessing his guns.  And because of this, he loses visitation with his son.

BenSwann.com’s Joshua Cook had a chance to speak with Aitken about his book and his story.

End Partisanship Files Appeal in NJ Lawsuit Seeking Equal Voter Rights

Last week, the coalition End Partisanship filed an appellant brief with the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in New Jersey, regarding a lawsuit they originally filled in March, which challenged the constitutionality of the state’s current requirements for primary elections.

In the state of New Jersey, 47% of voters are registered as Independent. However, despite the fact these voters are not affiliated with either the Republican or the Democratic parties in New Jersey, they are still forced to fund the primary elections, which only allow participation from Democratic and Republican candidates.

“Appellants have not asked this court (and did not ask the lower court) to issue a decision that would require political parties to allow non-party members to access their Candidate Nomination Proceedings,” stated the appeal. “Rather, Appellants have proceeded from the premise that the State cannot fund, administer, and sanction an integral stage of its election process that excludes a near majority of all registered voters.” 

Chad Peace, a legal advisor from the Independent Voter Project, referred to New Jersey’s current restrictions as “taxation without representation.”

In an email to Benswann.com, Peace pointed out that although 47% of the voters in New Jersey were “forced to pay over $12 million for a primary election that they were not even allowed to participate in,” the success of the current appeal would have implications that are nationwide.

The right to vote derives from citizenship; not by joining a political party,” said Peace. “If the state funds, administers, and sanctions an important stage of the political process, every voter has the right to participate, regardless of his or her party affiliation.”

End Partisanship, which is a coalition of leaders from different political organizations, is working to break the two-party system’s hold on primary elections. Their original lawsuit was filed in March, and has received a negative response from the state of New Jersey.

In May, New Jersey Secretary of State, Kim Guadagno, filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit. End Partisanship replied to the motion, arguing that the current primary system in New Jersey  “conditions a voter’s right to participate on giving up their right to not join a private political party,” and “violates New Jersey’s own constitutional prohibition against the private use of taxpayer funds.

Guadagno submitted a reply in July, on behalf of the State, insisting “a voter who feels disenfranchised because of a regulation that conditions participation in primary elections on party membership should simply join the party.”

In August, a New Jersey Federal District Court Judge dismissed the lawsuit filed by End Partisanship, and ruled that only Republicans and Democrats are “qualified” to vote in the state of New Jersey.

The latest appeal from the coalition was filed on November 4. It argues that the lower court’s “use of inapplicable case law,” and its failure to address the coalition’s claims, “catapults a derivative right of political organizations to control their associations ahead of an individual’s fundamental rights.”

The appeal demands that the State must “respect and balance” the individual’s fundamental right to “vote at all integral stages of an election process” and to “be treated fairly and equally regardless of affiliation or non-affiliation with a specific political organization.”

Investigative Journalist Ben Swann addressed the issue of the restrictions New Jersey has placed on its voters, and End Partisanship’s effort to make a difference, in an episode of Truth in Media:

Nurse in Maine defies quarantine, may take case to court

Kaci Hickox has defied her home quarantine Thursday morning by going for a bike ride, and she has said she might take her case to court if her quarantine is not lifted.

“I truly believe this policy is not scientifically nor constitutionally just, and so I am not going to sit around and be bullied around by politicians and be forced to stay in my home when I am not a risk to the American public,” Hickox said from her home in Maine on Today, according to the Raw Story.

Hickox was in West Africa recently to help treat Ebola patients.  After testing negative for the virus upon her return from West Africa, Hickox was released from quarantine in New Jersey but placed back in quarantine upon her return to her home in Maine.  She has been fighting her quarantine since her return and told reporters, according to NBC News, “I hope that we can continue negotiations and work this out amicably… There is no legal action against me, so I’m free to go on a bike ride in my hometown.”

It is not clear how the state of Maine will respond to Hickox’s ride just yet.  According to the New York Times, state officials said they might consider a court order to enforce the quarantine if Hickox left her home.

Gov. Paul LePage (R-Maine), said Wednesday, “While we certainly respect the rights of one individual, we must be vigilant in protecting 1.3 million Mainers, as well as anyone who visits our great state.”

Mary Mayhew, the Maine Health Commissioner, has said, according to CNN, she does not trust the information she has received concerning Hickox’s health status, saying the information lacks “reliability” and “trustworthiness.”

Mayhew also does not understand why Hickox is challenging the quarantine.  “(This is) a reasonable request to ensure — out of an abundance of caution — that we are protecting the people of this state,” said Mayhew.  

Hickox will continue to fight the quarantine though, saying she believes she has science, as well as the US Constitution, on her side.

Nurse Kaci Hickox Will Not Comply With Additional 21-Day Home Quarantine

Kaci Hickox, a nurse who was deemed at risk for carrying the Ebola virus and quarantined in a tent in New Jersey, is refusing to comply with an additional 21-day home quarantine at her residence in Maine and vowed to fight the quarantine policy in court if necessary.

Hickox returned to the United States last week after spending five weeks caring for Ebola patients in Sierra Leone. After arriving in New Jersey on last Friday, Hickox was isolated in a tent against her will at Newark’s University Hospital, although she tested negative for Ebola. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie defended the decision to mandate Hickox’s quarantine, saying “I don’t believe when you’re dealing with something as serious as this that we can count on a voluntary system. This is government’s job. If anything else, the government job is to protect safety and health of our citizens.”

Hickox has since returned to her home in Maine and said she will not abide by Maine’s quarantine policy, which is classified as voluntary although the state of Maine is prepared to enforce it.

Although Hickox said that she’s been exercising caution and avoiding contact with people, she has held to her reasoning that remaining in quarantine is “not scientifically nor constitutionally just.”

“You know, I don’t plan on sticking to the guidelines. I remain appalled by these home quarantine policies that have been forced upon me, even though I am in perfectly good health and feeling strong and have been this entire time completely symptom free. I’m thankful to be out of the tent in Newark, but I found myself in yet another prison, just in a different environment,” Hickox told Matt Lauer.

Lauer told Hickox about a statement from Maine’s Health and Human Services Commissioner Mary Mayhew, which read that the state may “pursue legal authority if necessary to ensure risk is minimized for Mainers.”

Hickox maintained that “reasonable steps”, including self-monitoring measures like testing body temperature twice a day and undergoing testing upon appearance of symptoms, have been made by her and other health care workers. “These policies have worked in the past,” said Hickox.

When asked why she opposes quarantines, Hickox responded that “I truly believe this policy is not scientifically nor constitutionally just, and so I’m not going to sit around and be bullied around by politicians and be forced to stay in my home when I am not a risk to the American public.”

“Are you prepared to take legal action, not only against the state of New Jersey, but now the state of Maine if they decide to enforce this quarantine period?” asked Lauer.

“I’m not talking about New Jersey right now, but if the restrictions placed on me by the state of Maine are not lifted by Thursday morning, I will go to court to fight for my freedom,” Hickox replied.

Hickox’s attorney, Norman Seigel, added that the state of Maine has “no justification to quarantine Kaci” and echoed that they would challenge any court orders from Maine.

Judge Andrew Napolitano appeared on The Kelley File on Fox News Monday and said that it’s the responsibility of the government to prove that a person poses a public health risk. “We don’t have group guilt in America. We don’t have group punishment in America,” said Napolitano. “When the person confined challenges their confinement, the burden of proof, the obligation of demonstrating the propriety of the confinements, which is to the governments. And the government did not have any evidence with which to keep her confined once she challenged it.”

Let us know what you think about mandatory quarantines in the survey below.

Click Here For The Results

This survey will close on November 8th at 11:59 P.M. eastern.

NJ Judge Dismisses Lawsuit for Equal Voter Rights

Last week, a New Jersey Federal District Court Judge dismissed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of New Jersey’s closed primary system, and ruled that only Republicans and Democrats are “qualified” to vote.

The lawsuit was originally filed by the organization End Partisanship, a coalition of leaders from different political organizations who seek to break the two-party system’s hold on primary elections. They stood up for the 47%, or 2.6 million voters in New Jersey who are not affiliated with a political party, and who do not currently have a voice.

The lawsuit asserts “all voters have a fundamental right to equal and meaningful access to all integral stages of the electoral process.”

In May, New Jersey Secretary of State Kim Guadagno responded by filing a motion to dismiss the lawsuit. She argued that U.S. citizens in New Jersey do not have a right to vote in primary elections, but political parties do have a right to use taxpayer dollars to fund them.

The lawsuit replied, highlighting the fact that the “primary conditions a voter’s right to participate on giving up their right to not join a private political party,” the fact that the “partisan primary effectively dilutes the voting power of non-party voters,” and the fact that the “system violates New Jersey’s own constitutional prohibition against the private use of taxpayer funds.

In July, Guadagno submitted a reply to the lawsuit, on behalf of the State of New Jersey, arguing “a voter who feels disenfranchised because of a regulation that conditions participation in primary elections on party membership should simply join the party.”

On August 12, the plaintiffs filed a surreply, claiming that the State is  “suggesting that there is an irreconcilable conflict between the individual right to cast a meaningful vote and the right of the Democratic and Republican parties to operate as private organizations,” which is confusing the real issue.

The surreply stated that, “Fundamental rights are, by nature, nonpartisan.” It went on to say that the State of New Jersey’s position is one that every voter in New Jersey should reject, due to the fact that their “rights within the democratic process may be conditioned on membership in one of two private organizations which almost half of all voters have chosen not to associate with.

Once the Judge’s decision to dismiss the lawsuit was announced, attorneys from the End Partisanship coalition told the Independent Voter Network that they are “preparing an appeal of the decision which will be sought on an accelerated basis.”

Both parties knew when this case was filed that because of its magnitude and effect on the primary system, and because the plaintiffs were asking a legal question the Supreme Court has not yet opined on, that the real fight would be taken forward through the appellate level and, potentially, the Supreme Court.” said an Advisor to the Independent Voter Project, Michael Thorsnes. “By dismissing the lawsuit, with prejudice, the court has confirmed that the case contains no factual, but only legal issues, creating a stage for the next level of review.”

New Jersey laws now require 47 percent of voters in New Jersey not affiliated with a political party to, against their will, join one of the two major parties to vote in the primary,” said Thorsnes.

Christie’s “Bridgegate” Investigation Cost NJ Taxpayers Over $6 Million

Documents released last week showed the law firm that represented New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (R-NJ) and investigated his involvement with the George Washington Bridge scandal has billed the state of New Jersey $6.5 million.

The state of New Jersey released invoices from Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, the firm hired by Christie, for $3.25 million for the months of January and February 2014, $2.49 million for the month of March, and $771,000 for the month of April. The state also released invoices charging $670,000 from law firms representing state employees who had been subpoenaed regarding the GWB scandal investigation. The invoices will be paid by taxpayers.

In March, Gibson Dunn released a 360-page report that cleared Christie of wrongdoing relating to the bridge lane closures. The report stated that the lane closures on the bridge were planned to target a local mayor, but evidence couldn’t be found that Christie was directly involved.

“We found that Gov. Christie had no knowledge beforehand of this George Washington Bridge realignment idea,” said lead investigator Randy Mastro, who released the report, in March.

Gibson Dunn had donated $10,000 to the Republican Governors Association, an organization chaired by Christie, nine days before the firm absolved Christie of wrongdoing in its report.

The report pointed to former Christie aide Bridget Kelly and senior official of Port Authority of New York and New Jersey David Wildstein as the culprits. Kelly had sent an email to Wildstein that stated “time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee” in reference to the lane closures, to which Wildstein had replied “got it“. Kelly was fired in January, and Wildstein retired in December 2013.

The report from Gibson Dunn invoked criticism from many, including John Wisniewski, who was the co-chair of a legislative committee also investigating the lane closures. Wisniewski pointed out that three people were never interviewed by the firm, including Kelly, Wildstein, and former Christie campaign manager Bill Stepien. The three had all declined interviews.

“If we don’t hear from the person who put the lane closures into motion, Bridget Kelly, who we know sent the email ‘Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee’ … if we don’t know why she sent that email, if we don’t know who gave her the authority to send that email, if we don’t know what she thought she may be accomplishing by sending that email, then we can’t have a complete picture of what happened here,” said Wisniewski.

Federal investigations of the GWB scandal, including one conducted by a special state legislative committee and two by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, are still ongoing. Paul Fishman, New Jersey’s US Attorney, said last month that he’s unsure of how long it will take to complete the investigations. “Thorough, complete investigations take time. They have to be done right. They have to be done thoroughly and that’s all I’ll say about that,” he said.

Lawsuit Responds To Argument That Voters Have No Rights in Primaries, But Must Pay For Them

On Thursday, New Jersey voters responded in court to a motion to dismiss a lawsuit, filed by New Jersey Secretary of State, Kim Guadagno.

Investigative Journalist, Ben Swann, first placed a spotlight on the lawsuit in March, when he discussed “End Partisanship” on an episode of Truth in Media. “New Jersey requires that a voter affiliate with a political party approved by the State as a precondition to participating in the primary process,” explained Swann.

This requirement has created major problems for the 47.6% of voters in New Jersey who don’t fall into the State’s approved category of either Democrat or Republican, yet are still required to fund the primary elections through tax dollars. Those who weren’t being properly represented in New Jersey chose to fight back with a lawsuit, using the organization End Partisanship.

End Partisanship is a coalition formed by leaders from different political organizations who seek to to break the two-party system’s hold on primary elections by making their candidates stronger, and by giving a voice to those who either have a third party affiliation, or none at all. A legal advisor from the Independent Voter Project, Chad Peace, described End Partisanship as having developed a “state by state legal strategy defending the rights of individual independent voters in the courtroom.”

The lawsuit End Partisanship filed in New Jersey was a first from the organization, and its leaders plan to use it as a blueprint they can eventually apply to all states. Ben Swann explained that the suit “seeks to protect the fundamental right to vote under the New Jersey and United States Constitutions, which have no requirement that a voter forfeit their First Amendment right not to associate with a political party.”

In May, General John J. Hoffman, an Attorney for the secretary of state’s office, filed a motion to dismiss the challenge on the constitutionality of New Jersey’s primary election system. New Jersey Secretary of State, Kim Guadagno, responded to the constituents by arguing that while American citizens in New Jersey do not have a right to vote in primary elections, political parties do have a right to use taxpayer dollars to fund them.

The supporters of End Partisanship took to court on July 3, to respond to the motion to dismiss the lawsuit. They stated that they had simply asked the State to ensure that the publicly funded primary election system not function as a private enterprise that deprives them of their ability to cast a meaningful vote. They pointed out that by keeping their votes from having equal representation, the state “confers on those private political parties a gratuitous advantage.”

The lawsuit acknowledged the fact that giving the State, “the veil of state sovereignty would de facto immunize private interests from constitutional scrutiny whenever the State, or an actor of the State, is so influenced by those private interests that they become one and the same.”

The lawsuit went on to say that while the State looks to extend its holding by arguing that voters have no fundamental right to participate in the primary stage of an electoral process, the Plaintiff contends that “the State’s primary election system, taken as a whole, confers a special benefit to the dominant private political parties and their members to the complete exclusion of nearly half of all registered voters.”

Plaintiffs assert the necessity of an electoral system that provides all voters an equally meaningful opportunity to participate at all integral stages of the election process, including the primary,” stated the lawsuit.

At a time when unaffiliated voters make up 47 percent of the State’s electorate, the need for judicial intervention is compelling.”

What Happened To Zuckerberg’s $100 Million Donation To New Jersey Schools?

Newark, NJ– In 2010, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg famously announced on the Oprah Winfrey Show that he would be donating $100 million to repair the school system in Newark, New Jersey. Zuckerberg then teamed up with Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) and the city’s Mayor at the time, Cory Booker, to create a foundation called Startup:Education.

At that time Newark was unquestionably in need of help, as its graduation rate had sunk below 67% and the city was struggling with high crime and poverty rates. Booker and Christie had already been discussing massive educational reform including a goal to make Newark “the charter school capital of the nation.” The foundation created by Zuckerberg, Christie and Booker had the vision of implementing new educational programs to transform the Newark school system into “a symbol of educational excellence for the whole nation”, according to Zuckerberg.

Some of the stipulations from Zuckerberg included hiring a “transformational leader” as a superintendent and finding donors to match his $100 million. Cami Anderson was appointed by Christie in 2011 and she had attempted different reform methods, including closing twelve of the city’s worst K-8 grade schools and consolidating them into eight “renew schools” that operated similarly to charter schools. Anderson’s latest plan, One Newark, is supposed to allow parents to choose from 55 public and 16 charter schools to send their children. That plan is currently riddled with complications, such as lack of student transportation.

Nearly four years later many are left wondering if any progress in Newark has been made from his gift. According to an in-depth analysis from the New Yorker, most of Zuckerberg’s hundred million dollars “has been spent or committed.” Despite the efforts from Anderson to develop changes inside the schools, a great deal of that money- over $20 million- went to pay consultants for things like public relations, human resources, and communications. Some consultants were being paid about $1,000 per day. Back pay for the teacher’s union and seniority protections were also high, costing additional tens of millions of dollars. “Everybody’s getting paid, but Raheem still can’t read,” noted Vivian Cox Fraser, the president of the Urban League of Essex County. Newark’s test scores have barely budged, and their educational outlook remains dismal.

Newly elected Newark Mayor Ras Baraka opposes the the One Newark plan brought by Anderson, calling it “a dismantling of public education”. The hemorrhage of funds coupled with disputes over what reforms should take place in Newark has contributed to ongoing uncertainty about the city’s educational future.

Follow Annabelle on Facebook and Twitter.

Feds To Investigate Chris Christie For Spending Hurricane Relief Funds On Campaign Ad

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie introduces U.S. President Barack Obama to speak on the rebuilding of the Jersey Shore following Hurricane Sandy, from Asbury Park in New Jersey

So far, 2014 has been tough for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

Last week he was making headlines for the “Bridgegate Scandal” – and now, he is being audited by the Inspector General at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for allegedly using $2 million in storm Sandy relief funds to pay for a re-election campaign ad.

The investigation into Christie surrounds a television commercial featuring Christie and his family. The successful ad was called “Stronger than the Storm” and aired last spring — we reported on the commercial back in August when it was revealed that Christie used Sandy relief money to fund it.

New Jersey Congressman Frank Pallone Jr. (D-6th District) wrote a letter in August that said, “It is inappropriate for taxpayer-funded dollars that are critical to our state’s recovery from this natural disaster to fund commercials that could potentially benefit a political campaign.”

The letter continued, “While promoting tourism at the Jersey Shore in the wake of Hurricane Sandy is certainly a worthy endeavor, recent reports have led me to believe that the state has irresponsibly misappropriated funding allocated by Congress from the Sandy aid package and taken advantage of this waiver for political purposes.”

In response to his letter, Pallone was recently notified that HUD found “enough evidence to justify a full-scale audit of the state’s usage of the federal funds.”

In a statement, Pallone said, “Had Governor Christie chosen the less expensive firm, $2.2 million in federal disaster aid could have potentially been directed elsewhere, for example, to provide 44 Sandy-impacted homeowners $50,000 grants to raise their homes.”

Christie is likely to run for president in 2016. The new slew of scandals could potentially put a wrench in these plans. Many Christie supporters complain that the mainstream media have been giving these Christie “scandals” far more attention than the Obama scandals earlier this year.

Follow Kristin on Facebook and Twitter.

Bridgegate scandal: Gov. Chris Christie says, “I’m not a bully”

After previously denying involvement, New Jersey governor and potential 2016 Republican presidential candidate Chris Christie has admitted that his staff caused a politically-motivated traffic jam on the George Washington Bridge.

“I am embarrassed and humiliated by the conduct of some of the people on my team,” said Christie at a news conference Thursday.

Christie said he had fired deputy chief of staff Bridget Anne Kelly, one of the aides apparently responsible for the closure, which delayed school buses and emergency vehicles.

The closure was intended by Christie’s staff to punish the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee, N.J., for allegedly not supporting Christie’s re-election campaign. The George Washington Bridge is one of the most heavily traveled route connecting New Jersey to New York. According to the New York and New Jersey Port Authority, over 300,000 people travel the bridge each day.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that the conduct that they exhibited is completely unacceptable and showed a lack of respect for the appropriate role of government and for the people that were trusted to serve,” said Christie.

Christie went to Fort Lee on Thursday afternoon to apologize personally to Mayor Mark Sokolich and the community. Lee accepted his apology.

E-mails and texts released on Wednesday showed  Christie’s officials plotting the incident: “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee,” Kelly wrote in an e-mail to David Wildstein, one of the Port Authority appointees.

Christie continued: “I feel humiliated by this. I’m a person who cares deeply about doing my job well. I work extraordinarily hard at it. That’s what I should do. I’ve taken an oath to that effect. But I am humiliated by the fact that I did not know this and that I was deceived. And that’s an awful way to feel.”

Reports, which cannot be confirmed, allege that a patient inside the back of an ambulance caught in the gridlock passed away. Christie responded to that report during his news conference: “It’s awful. Now, I’ve also seen conflicting reports about what the cause of death was and whatever, but it doesn’t matter. It’s awful to hear.”

As far as this scandal hurting his presidential aspirations, Christie said he’s not focusing on that. “My focus is on the people of New Jersey and the job that they gave me,” he added.

The media has focused on the culture Gov. Christie has allowed to exist in his administration. A culture where this behavior is acceptable. New Jersey’s largest paper doubts that Christie didn’t know what was going on in his own administration.

New Jersey Assembly Deputy Speaker John Wisniewski told DailyMail that Christie is covering up the facts. “Christie is either ‘a governor who can’t manage his staff or one who isn’t telling the truth,” said Wisniewski. 

Wisniewski said that David Wildstein, who pleaded the Fifth during a ‘Bridgegate’ hearing today represents ‘just the tip of the cover-up.’