According to a new report in the Wall Street Journal, there is a second, "special" grand jury currently investigating New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's involvement in Bridgegate.
The Journal reports that the panel is in Newark and notes that it has been operating with notably more secrecy than can be the case with high-profile investigations. The leaks have been few and far between, and prosecutors involved with the effort, the Journal says, "have taken extra precautions to keep deliberations secret." U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman has brought in an additional attorney from the federal Department of Justice, too.
The Journal's anonymous source says that witnesses called to testify thus far have come from the Port Authority as well as the Christie administration. Spokesmen for both the Port Authority as well as the lawyers hired to defend the Christie administration declined the Journal's request for comment. A Fishman spokeswoman also passed on speaking on-the-record.
Prosecutors tend to impanel a special grand jury when they have a long, complex case, said Aidan O'Connor, an attorney with PashmanStein in Hackensack, N.J., and a former federal prosecutor in New Jersey. Grand juries in New Jersey last for 18 months and meet about weekly, but a sitting one must be shared with other cases occurring in the jurisdiction. A special grand jury can just focus on witnesses for one particular case.
"You could read into it that this investigation is going to go on for a while," Mr. O'Connor said about the establishment of special grand jury for the bridge case. "They will be seeking more information and witnesses."
Testimony given to the standing grand jury likely would later have to be read into the special one, a time-consuming process, Mr. O'Connor said.