Eleven days before the 2002 New Jersey primary, U.S. Attorney Chris Christie issued a letter saying that Joseph DiVincenzo was “not a subject or target of the grand jury investigation.”
At the time, DiVincenzo was in a close race against Thomas Giblin for the Democratic nomination for Essex County Executive. Fighting persistent rumors that he was being investigated by the FBI, DiVincenzo asked Christie for a clearance letter and got one – on the Friday before Memorial Day weekend.
DiVincenzo narrowly won the Democratic primary. Eleven years later, he was among a group of Democrats who endorsed Christie for re-election as governor.
Now Christie is criticizing ousted FBI director James Comey for reopening an investigation about Hillary Clinton’s e-mails eleven days before the 2016 presidential election.
“When I worked for Jim Comey, if I had told him 11 days before an election that I was releasing information that could affect an election, and the decision was influenced by polling, he would have fired me. He would have fired me on the spot. He is guilty of doing that himself,” Christie said on ABC news this morning.
Christie says the Justice Department has a rule that 60 days before an election, “you do nothing about somebody who is going to be on the ballot. Comey did it 11 days before.”
“We’re not supposed to care about politics as prosecutors,” Christie said.
Former Gov. Richard Codey says Christie did the same thing.
“He embedded himself into the electoral process,” said Codey, who was a Giblin supporter in 2002. “Any other politician who had done that would be finishing up McGreevey’s re-entry program now.”
Frank Giantomasi, a lawyer for DiVincenzo, said in 2002 that he asked Christie to get involved.
“Joe was fed up with constant red herrings and misrepresentations that the Giblin team was putting out. A decision was made to clear the air with the U.S. Attorney,” Giantomasi told PoliticsNJ at the time. “The level of negativity was so high that it led us to call the U.S. Attorney’s office for clarity, and clarity has been issued by the United States Attorney, and I don’t think anybody should interpret that letter. It speaks for itself, and I think it is very clear.”
For his part, Codey isn’t surprised by the hypocrisy of Christie criticizing Comey for taking a page out of Christie’s playbook.
“With Mr. Christie, there’s a different set of rules. It’s whether or not the person is a friend of his or not,” Codey told the New Jersey Globe. “Between Christie and Comey, I’ll take Comey every day. He’s a man of integrity.”PoliticsNJ 052802