Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie may have never made it very far with President Donald Trump, but he’s now found himself in the middle of a legal scandal anyway. The Wall Street Journal reports that U.S. investigators are looking into whether or not he received some of millions in laundered funds from Malaysian criminal Jho Low, whose legal team he’s working on.
The money could have come through Thai businessman Phengphian Laogumnerd and former rapper Pras Michel, who’s a founding member of The Fugees, according to the report. Laogumnerd has denied accepting any money from Low while handling his expenses, and a lawyer representing Michel has asserted his client did nothing wrong.
There’s no indication that Christie actually knew where the money came from and was an active participant in Low’s scheme. Low has gone down throughout recent years for his role in siphoning some $4.5 billion from the 1Malaysia Development Bhd fund. That scheme has drawn figures in as high ranking as former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, who was arrested this year in Malaysia and faces charges of money laundering and criminal breach of trust.
Low, for his part, remains a fugitive at present. He’s faced scrutiny outside of the question of what he’s using to pay Christie all around the world, including money laundering charges in Malaysia and civil lawsuits from the U.S. Justice Department. American authorities are aiming to seize U.S. assets that Low purchased using stolen funds.
The former New Jersey governor is representing him in that case, and a Christie spokesperson asserted that’s the only context in which he’s interacted with the U.S. government on Low’s behalf. The occasional Trump ally has not been drawn into any probe of Low continuing to launder money around the globe, they explained.
Still, the former governor is hardly alone in facing scrutiny, even if it’s indirect and more focused on the cash. Trump lawyer Marc Kasowitz also works for the businessman, but a spokesperson for his firm offered a non-committal response when pressed by The Journal.
‘Here, as with all of our clients, our job as attorneys is to represent and vindicate our clients’ interests; and here, as with all of our non-pro-bono clients, we are paid for the legal services we provide.’
Also in Low’s employ are past Trump Organization outside ethics adviser Bobby Burchfield, GOP-affiliated lobbyist Ed Rogers, and disgraced former Republican National Committee official Elliott Broidy.
Broidy is facing a secondary investigation besides that of where the money he got paid with came from, according to The Journal. Authorities want to know whether or not he sought to sell his access to the Trump administration to Low, who himself was acting in that interaction as an agent of the Chinese and Malaysian governments. According to the report, Low has been seeking to have the U.S. investigations into him dropped.
Broidy has, of course, denied any wrongdoing, although another former Trump associate — lawyer Michael Cohen — has been caught selling access to the Trump administration already. The two of them worked together — Cohen handled a hush money agreement buying the silence of a woman with whom Broidy had an affair.
The whole ordeal involving Broidy, Christie, and others, is a fitting reminder that the corruption doesn’t stop with Donald Trump.
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