Blago prosecutor heading Christie bridge inquiry

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Reid Schar, the lead prosecutor in Rod Blagojevich’s case, has been tapped to head up the investigation into allegations of political payback under New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s administration.

Schar, who left the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Chicago and joined Jenner & Block, is serving as special counsel.

“We can confirm that the firm has been retained,” Phillip McGowan, Global Communications Manager, tells the Sun-Times, adding that Schar is serving as special counsel.

The work of the committee is already underway.

“The Assembly is set to meet at noon tomorrow to create the special committee, and then the committee will meet at 1 p.m. to determine its process for issuing subpoenas,” Tom Hester, spokesman for the Assembly Democratic Majority Office.

The special counsel was named after allegations surfaced that a top aide to Christie had orchestrated a traffic jam as political payback to a mayor who refused to endorse Christie. Christie held a two-hour news conference last week condemning the actions after firing the aide.

Schar was the lead prosecutor in the trial and retrial of disgraced Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich, who is now serving 14 years behind bars after he was convicted of attempting to sell Barack Obama’s vacant U.S. Senate seat.

“It’s vital to have someone of the caliber of Mr. Schar joining us in this effort,” Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-Hudson/Bergen) said in a statement. “A potential misuse of taxpayer resources for political purposes is a serious matter that requires an astute legal eye with experience in this realm to help guide the process. I look forward to the assistance he will offer under the leadership of Chairman Wisniewski.”

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