An inquiry into Gov. Chris Christie's involvement in the 'Bridgegate' scandal has found that the governor was not connected to the punitive move to close a traffic lane and cause a massive traffic backup in Fort Lee last year.
There's a caveat that comes with the finding, however: Christie himself commissioned the investigation by a law firm with close ties to the embattled governor.
Investigators conducted 70 interviews and charged approximately $1 million in legal fees—at a cost of $650 an hour to be paid by state taxpayers—to determine that Christie had no involvement "in the plotting or directing of the lane closings," according to a report in The New York Times.
The law firm—Gibson Dunn & Crutcher—has close ties to the Christie administration "and the firm’s lawyers were unable to interview three principal players in the shutdowns, including Bridget Anne Kelly, the governor’s former deputy chief of staff," according to The Times.
Gibson Dunn has worked for the Christie administration in the past, the Times reported, and the governor is close to Debra Wong Yang, a top partner there.
Yang was appointed a United States attorney by President George W. Bush in the early 2000s.
Two other investigations are currently underway, one by the state legislature and another by the U.S. Attorney's office.
The Gibson Dunn & Crutcher investigation relied on a wide assortment of documents including emails, archived communications and Port Authority records.
Their efforts were stymied, however, by the non-cooperation of several key players in the scandal.
Aside from Kelly, former aide and campaign manager Bill Stepien, Christie's Port Authority appointee David Wildstein and Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich all refused to speak with attorneys.
The inquiry also looked into whether the Christie administration threatened to withhold money from Hoboken in exchange for support of a development deal in that city, according to The Times.
Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer also refused to speak with Gibson Dunn attorneys, The Times reported.
The review is expected to be delivered to the governor soon, and Christie "has promised to make it public quickly without alterations," The Times reported.