Anda di halaman 1dari 4


Lookout Lane

Washington Crossing, P.A. 18977

July 6, 2015

Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington D.C. 20530
Via certified mail

Dear Attorney General Lynch:

My name is Bennett Barlyn. I am writing to express my concern about
apparent conflicts between Governor Christies administration and the U.S.
Attorneys Office for the District of New Jersey that may be compromising the
latters independent role relating to the enforcement of federal criminal law. This
conflict is largely based on the prevalence of former federal prosecutors who
served and continue to serve in highly placed positions in the Christie

On October 11, 2013, the New York Times published a front-page
investigative piece (attached) about the circumstances surrounding my termination
as an assistant prosecutor with the Hunterdon County Prosecutors Office by the
Christie administration. At that time, I served as the Chief of Appeals, Drug Court
and Policy. As recounted in the news article, the New Jersey Attorney General
terminated me from my county position specifically because I objected to that
offices preemptive dismissal of a 43-count indictment obtained several months
earlier by veteran county prosecutors and detectives with my office.

By letter (attached) dated April 26, 2014, I wrote to United States Attorney
Paul Fishman asking that his office conduct an investigation to determine whether
violations of federal criminal law had occurred in connection with the Attorney
Generals takeover and subsequent dismissal of a local corruption prosecution. I
emphasized that I and other career prosecutors in Hunterdon County had
unsuccessfully pursued all avenues of redress at the state level regarding
wrongdoing by New Jerseys chief law enforcement official. Two months later, I
received a letter (attached) dated June 12, 2014, from Assistant U.S. Attorney J.
Fortier Imbert. Mr. Imbert directed me to an investigator in his office named
Thomas J. Mahoney and noted that it was not apparent on the face of your
submission that there have been potential violations of federal criminal law.

I immediately contacted Investigator Mahoney and sent him, via e-mail, a

substantial amount of carefully selected documentary evidence that corroborate
the allegations of wrongdoing. Put bluntly, Investigator Mahoney flatly ignored all
efforts on my part to communicate with him about the case.

By letter (attached) dated December 18, 2014, I wrote to Assistant U.S.
Attorney Imbert upon discovering that the criminal defendants in the Hunterdon
matter had identified Investigator Mahoney as a witness on their behalf in a civil
suit brought against Hunterdon County arising from their aborted prosecution. I
also noted that numerous state officials implicated in the matter are former federal

In late January, a federal criminal investigator contacted me for an interview.
I assumed at the time that my second letter to Mr. Fishman had prompted the call.
Approximately a week later in early February, the investigator and a colleague met
me at my home in Pennsylvania, at which time we discussed the case for
approximately an hour and a half. In addition, I gave the investigators a flash drive
containing more documentary evidence that had surfaced since my first letter to Mr.

Shortly thereafter, the media reported that the meeting had taken place.
Days later, a spokesperson for Mr. Fishman sharply deviated that offices
longstanding practice of neither confirming nor denying to reporters a pending or
ongoing investigation. Specifically, he told an ABC reporter that Christie was not
the target of the investigation. The spokesperson, Mathew Reilly, was also quoted
as stating, We talk to people all the time. It doesnt mean were investigating
anybody. The remarks immediately confirmed my suspicion that the interview
was not conducted as part of a genuine inquiry, but was instead intended to placate
me and forestall my efforts to bring the Hunterdon matter to the attention of Main
Justice. Importantly, neither nor I nor the career prosecutors who witnessed the
events underlying the New York Times story have been contacted by Mr. Fishmans
office despite our stated willingness to discuss the case. Tellingly, a Christie
spokesman subsequently told the media that the meeting was merely a courtesy

With this as backdrop, it is a well-publicized fact that Governor Christies
administration was and remains heavily staffed by numerous colleagues who served
under him during his tenure as U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey. These
include all three state attorneys general, including the present acting attorney
general, John J. Hoffman. Remarkably, the International Business Times recently
reported that Thomas Mahoney, who evidently served as a lead investigator in the
George Washington Bridge (GWB) investigation, was in fact hired by then U.S.
Attorney Christie on October 1, 2006.

Beyond my personal experience with Mr. Fishmans office, certain issues

arising in connection with the federal GWB and Port Authority investigations
implicate what I believe are legitimate concerns about Mr. Fishmans impartiality.
The first is a mysterious leak that media outlets directly attributed to federal
authorities which surfaced on or around September 22, 2014. The leak exonerated
Governor Christie of any involvement in the closing of the GWB traffic lanes. The
second is the evidently central role of a Christie hire, Thomas Mahoney, in the GWB
investigation itself.

More recently, defense attorneys representing two of the defendants charged
by Mr. Fishman for their roles in closing the GWB lanes -- Bridget Kelly and William
Baroni have separately challenged a highly unusual effort by Mr. Fishmans staff to
classify as confidential approximately 1.5 million pages of presumably incriminating
evidence. Notably, the defense attorneys maintain that the confidentiality order is
being sought by Mr. Fishman specifically to protect both the governor and his staff.

In another rare practice, Mr. Fishman recently provided, at their request, so-
called clearance letters to Lt. Governor Gov. Kim Guadagno and former Community
Affairs Commissioner Richard Constable in connection with allegations of official
wrongdoing leveled against them by Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer. Zimmer had
publically accused both Guadagno and Constable of threatening to withhold
Hurricane Sandy relief aid if she did not approve a politically connected
development deal involving former Port Authority Commissioner David Samson.
Both Guadagno and Constable are former federal prosecutors.

Regarding Mr. Samson, he is currently represented by former United States
Attorney Michael Chertoff. Mr. Chertoff was Mr. Fishmans longtime supervisor and
apparent mentor when Mr. Fishman served under him as an Assistant U.S. Attorney
with the District of New Jersey office.

It is a bedrock principle long embedded in both decisional authority and
professional standards of conduct that prosecutors must scrupulously avoid
conflicts of interest in order to maintain the confidence of the public whose interest
they are sworn to impartially serve. Based on the foregoing, it is difficult to
conclude that Mr. Fishmans views on apparent conflicts of interest are as exacting.
Regardless, should the Justice Department wish to investigate the events in
Hunterdon, I and other former prosecutors are more than willing to provide
whatever assistance is required.

Thank you very much for your attention in this matter.


Bennett Barlyn, Esq.

Cc: Raymond Hulser, Acting Chief, Public Integrity Section
Paul J. Fishman, U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey