Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Lawyers' Bill Hits $6.5M in Gwb Probe

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Lawyers' Bill Hits $6.5M in Gwb Probe

Article excerpt

The law firm Governor Christie hired to represent his office and investigate his staff's actions in the George Washington Bridge scandal has billed taxpayers $6.51 million for work through April, according to documents released Friday.

The released bills detail the sustained activity at Gibson Dunn & Crutcher as the firm produced the report Christie has since used to say he has been exonerated in the scandal that began when one of his aides and another of his appointees appeared to shut down approach lanes to the bridge as part of a political plot.

The firm submitted bills to the Attorney General's Office that said in March it had 59 people working on the case and that they charged the state $2.49 million in fees. One lawyer two years out of law school billed for 342 hours that month -- or an average of 11 hours every day in March. His taxpayer tab was almost $120,000.

Friday's disclosure means that the lawyers representing Christie's office, his staff and those working for the legislative committee investigating the scandal have charged taxpayers $7.87 million, according to bills released so far.

Gibson Dunn's report was issued on March 26 and totaled about 350 pages, with 97 pages of appendices, more than 600 pages of exhibits and a document detailing interviews.

Many key details were included not in the report but in the supplemental material. Transcripts of the 72 interviews Gibson Dunn conducted were not provided -- instead they were summarized. And some key figures in the matter were not interviewed.

In addition to compiling the report, Gibson Dunn also represented some state employees who were forced to respond to bridge scandal- related subpoenas. In addition to the total for their work in March, $770,000 was added for work in April.

The Attorney General's Office on Friday also made public bills from 10 other law firms it has hired and many were paid for their work representing state employees who have been subpoenaed either by the U.S. attorney or by the legislative committee investigating the bridge scandal.

Those 10 firms submitted bills for $673,000, according to documents released Friday. …

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