- Associated Press - Monday, June 19, 2017

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - The law firm where President Donald Trump’s pick to run the FBI works has been paid more than $2 million by New Jersey taxpayers to represent Gov. Chris Christie in the George Washington Bridge lane-closing case, according to public records.

Christopher Wray’s firm, Atlanta-based King & Spalding, has been paid $2.1 million since Christie hired him in 2014, the Asbury Park Press reported (https://on.app.com/2rN3MyF) Monday based on bills obtained through a records request.

The firm was paid $653,034 during last year’s trial that led to the convictions of two former Christie aides in the plot to create traffic jams in a city whose Democratic mayor wouldn’t endorse Christie’s re-election efforts. The Republican governor was not charged.

Wray held the missing cellphone that was used by the governor and contained about a dozen text messages that Christie exchanged with a former staffer during a legislative hearing related to the bridge in 2013.

Several witnesses who testified at the trial contradicted Christie’s version of when, or how much, he knew about the traffic jams and their objective. He continues to maintain he didn’t know about the plot, and the two aides have filed plans to appeal their convictions.

Christie and Wray met and bonded when Christie was the top federal prosecutor in New Jersey in President George W. Bush’s administration. Christie said earlier this month that the president made an “outstanding choice” for FBI director, calling Wray an independent, nonpolitical pick.

“When I was at the absolute lowest point of my professional life, he was who I called. I don’t think you can give a better recommendation than that,” Christie told reporters after Wray was nominated. “And it’s not like I don’t know a lot of lawyers.”

Christie has informally advised Trump, who called Wray “a man of impeccable credentials” when he announced his nomination to replace James Comey in a tweet. Wray’s appointment still needs Senate approval.

A second law firm, Gibson Dunn, has billed New Jersey taxpayers more than $11 million for legal work related to Bridgegate.

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Information from: Asbury Park (N.J.) Press, https://www.app.com

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