New Jersey Democratic legislative leadership don’t have any problem with Gov. Phil Murphy retaining former Gov. Chris Christie chief counsel Christopher Porrino as his administration faces upcoming probes into its hiring of Al Alvarez.
“I anticipated that the governor and expected that the governor would have counsel,” Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin said. “I don’t know Attorney General Porrino very well, but I know by reputation is a very fine lawyer, so it’s not unexpected, not inappropriate.”
Senate President Steve Sweeney was a little more familiar Porrino. The two men worked together on some issues before he was nominated and unanimously confirmed by the State Senate as Christie’s attorney general in 2016.
“I’ve worked with the attorney general, I’ve worked with him when he was chief counsel to the governor,” Sweeney said. “I think he’s brilliant. I think he’s honest, and we’ll work with him like we did in the past.”
Porrino’s hiring might make some think for a moment, since, as the cast of attorneys around the Alvarez probe grows, more and more familiar faces show up.
Porrino helped navigate Christie’s administration through Bridgegate. Senate Select Committee attorney Michael Critchley represented Christie aide Bridget Anne Kelly during the trial relating to the same scandal.
Sweeney, for one, wasn’t sure why the state seemed to have such a small pool of lawyers.
“I don’t know,” he said when asked if there were more than four attorneys in the state. “I think we have the largest pool of lawyers of any state per person in the nation, and there are a lot of good ones, but these are extra special good ones.”