New Jersey Senate confirms former Christie counsel as attorney general

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's former chief counsel Chris Porrino has been confirmed by the state Senate as attorney general. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's former chief counsel Chris Porrino has been confirmed by the state Senate as attorney general. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

New Jersey’s Senate has confirmed Christopher Porrino as the state’s top law enforcement officer.

Porrino has been serving as acting attorney general since Gov. Chris Christie nominated him in June.

He had left state government to return to private law practice after serving as Christie’s chief counsel, a job he started just after the George Washington Bridge scandal broke in early 2014.

Sen. Nia Gill abstained when other members of the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to recommend his confirmation. The vote should have been delayed until after the trial of the two people charged in that scandal, she said.

“We owe an obligation to the citizens not to foster an appearance of a conflict or to create a system that appears to be rigged or in the control of one executive,” said Gill, D-Essex.

Other senators praised Porrino’s qualifications for the job.

For his part, Porrino promised to be independent as attorney general.

“If I’m not independent in this role, I’m not helping anyone,” he said. “I’m not helping myself, I’m not helping the office, I’m not helping the state and I’m not helping the office of the governor.”

Asked if he knew the reason for Bridgegate, Porrino replied that he wouldn’t want to say anything that might prejudice the September trial of the two people charged in connection with the bridge lane closures.

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