Most of Norcross’ Legal Team Who Signed Task Force Letter Have Obvious Ties to Chris Christie

At least four of the six attorneys defying the task force assembled by Governor Phil Murphy and seeking the protection of the interests of South Jersey Democratic Power Broker George Norcross III, have strong ties and-or history with former Governor Chris Christie.

The attorneys yesterday fired off a letter to Task Force attorney Jim Walden protesting its “unlawful process.”

Here’s the letter and NJ.com’s treatment of the story.

Here are the attorneys linked to Christie:

Chris Porrino, representing Cooper University Healthcare, Conner Strong and Buckelew,

The Lowenstein Sandler attorney served as attorney general for Governor Chris Christie from 2016-2018. From 2012 to 2014 he served as Christie’s director of the Division of Law, and was present as a “trusted adviser” for the Bridgegate scandal. Earlier this year, Governor Phil Murphy tapped him  to represent members of his administration asked to testify to the Select Legislative Committee looking into allegations of sexual assault by a member of the Murphy Team. The select committee – which retained attorney Michael Critchley – is at this moment preparing its final report on that case. Critchley is also now part of the legal team – along with Porrino – representing Conner Strong.

Herbert J. Stern, representing Cooper University Healthcare

Stern is regarded as a friend and mentor of former Governor (and former U.S. Attorney) Chris Christie. Prior to leaving the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Christie hired Stern’s son, Samuel Stern, as an assistant U.S. attorney. According to a 2009 NJ.com story, “Herbert Stern was one of the few prominent lawyers who initially supported Christie as he came under widespread fire for his lack of law-enforcement experience when he became U.S. attorney in 2002. Stern later received a lucrative monitoring job from Christie and has donated to his campaign.” In 2017, Stern donated $5,400 to Donald Norcross for Congress, according to the FEC.

Kevin Marino, representing Parker McCay (the law firm of Philip Norcross, brother to South Jersey power broker)

The principal at Marino, Tortorella and Boyle represented Bill Stepien during the Bridgegate fiasco. Stepien was a longtime Christie loyalist, involved from the beginning in his gubernatorial campaign and later his political minder. He was set to serve as chairman of the New Jersey Republican Party when Christie dismissed him amid the political torments of Bridgegate. Marino aggressively fought to ensure that Stepien’s name was expunged from any culpability in the scandal and succeeded. A jury found the operative’s one-time confidant, Christie deputy Bridget Kelly, represented in court by Critchley (see Porrino, above) guilty. Stepien is now the political director for President Donald J. Trump. According to FEC filings, Marino (or someone with the same name) in 2017 and 2018 contributed $4,500 to the reelection campaign of U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and definitely at least forked $2,700 to the campaign of U.S. Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-11).

Michael Chertoff, representing Conner Strong

Like Christie, Chertoff (now working for Covington Burling) is a former U.S. Attorney from New Jersey. He co-authored the USA Patriot Act and served as director of Homeland Security for President George W. Bush, who controversially (see Stern, above) installed Christie as U.S. Attorney.

 

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