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Tue Dec 6, 2016, 11:56 AM

Ex-firefighter Bill Brennan puts a damper on Chris Christie's ambitions

http://www.nj.com/opinion/index.ssf/2016/12/ex-firefighter_bill_brennan_puts_a_damper_on_chris.html
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Gov. Christie didn't take questions after assembling the media in the Capitol Rotunda last Tuesday for the announcement of a $300 million plan to renovate the Statehouse.

That left a vacuum. Bill Brennan promptly filled it.

The retired Teaneck firefighter quickly commandeered Christie's spot. The cameras flocked around him as talked loudly about his effort to get a special prosecutor named in the citizen's complaint he had filed against Christie last month during the Bridgegate trial.

That got him a lot of media attention. The next day he got a lot more during a press conference outside the Bergen County Courthouse following a hearing on his request.

In that hearing, the judge denied his motion to name a special prosecutor. So that means Christie can finally put Bridgegate behind him, right?

Wrong. It's just getting started.

Then along came Brennan with the law degree he earned after retiring from the Fire Department.
brennan.jpgBill Brennan: Like Christie, he wants to go from prosecuting politicians to running for governor.Anthony Sciarrino/NJ Advance Media

"The question here that's on the court's lap is whether he learned of the closures and whether he had the ability through his staff to end it," McGeady said.

The answer? There was probable cause to pursue the prosecution, he ruled.

But who would be the prosecutor? The county prosecutor, who was appointed by Christie, recused himself. Brennan argues that any subordinate would have a conflict of interest as well.

"I think he has a good case on appeal," said state Sen. Ray Lesniak. "If he doesn't have standing, then no one has standing. Judges do that when they want to punt, when they don't want to make a decision on the merits."

The Union County Democrat, who is a lawyer by trade, attended the hearing last week. He said Brennan did an excellent job against attorneys for both Christie and the prosecutor - an alliance that in itself seems to indicate a conflict, he said.

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