Bondi to sit on national drug abuse panel headed by NJ Gov. Chris Christie

President Trump on Wednesday appointed New Jersey Governor Chris Christie – a former rival and deposed head of his transition team – to lead a White House commission to combat drug addiction and named Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi a commission member.

New Jersey Governor and then Presidential Candidate Chris Christie spoke at the Caron Treatment Centers in Boca Raton in December 2015.

During a White House listening session on Wednesday, Trump, Christie, Bondi, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and other Cabinet members and policy makers heard from a recovered addict, the founder of a drug treatment center and a mother whose son had overdosed and died.

“I am honored to be appointed to the President’s Opioid and Drug Abuse Commission,” Bondi said in a press release. “I want to thank the president of the United States, Governor Christie and many others for caring about this deadly epidemic.”

Christie has made drug treatment the centerpiece of his administration and has dedicated his final year in office to addressing the drug crisis.

During an event at Caron Renaissance in Boca Raton in 2015, Christie – then a candidate for president – said his empathy for addicts came from his personal experience with his mother’s cigarette addiction and a law school friend’s overdose death from painkillers.

The commission is being rolled out as part of a new office led by Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, who has had a frosty relationship with Christie, a former U.S. attorney.

Christie obtained convictions against Kushner’s father in 2004 and 2005 for illegal campaign contributions, criminal tax evasion and witness tampering.

Kushner and Christie had lunch together at the White House on Tuesday to discuss the administration’s drug policy. Exactly what the commission will do and how it will be financed is not yet known.

But Christie offered some details about his plan while speaking at Caron Renaissance in 2015.

“First you have to change the mindset of prosecutors,” candidate-Christie said.  “Sometimes justice means prosecuting and sometimes it doesn’t.”

Christie said he would create drug courts in each of the 93 federal court districts and use the money saved by diverting addicts from prison to provide more public drug treatment.

Christie’s position leading the new commission is a volunteer one. However, people close to him say that he is open to potentially joining the administration when his term ends in January.

 

 

Update: DOC chief fires two prison guards arrested for plotting to kill inmate

Florida Department of Corrections Secretary Julie Jones
Florida Department of Corrections Secretary Julie Jones

Updated at 2:08 p.m.
Florida Department of Corrections chief Julie Jones issued this statement following today’s arrest of two current prison guards and one former guard, all KKK members, with plotting to kill an African-American inmate:
“We are moving swiftly to terminate the employees arrested today and working closely with Office of the Attorney General to assist in their prosecution. Our Department has zero tolerance for racism or prejudice of any kind. The actions of these individuals are unacceptable and do not, in any way, represent the thousands of good, hardworking and honorable correctional officers employed at the Department of Corrections.”
The former officer charged in the plot, Charles Thomas Newcomb, was hired in 2012 but dismissed the following year “for failure to meet correctional officer’s minimum training requirements” according to a FDOC spokesman.

Original post: Three current and former Florida prison guards – all members of the Ku Klux Klan – were arrested today and charged with conspiring to kill an African American inmate when he is released from state prison.
Charles Thomas Newcomb, 42, is a former state prison guard; as of this morning, Thomas Jordan Driver, 25, and David Elliot Moran, 47, were still pulling paychecks from the Florida Department of Corrections.
All are members of the Traditional American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.
The name of the inmate has not been released. However, Attorney General Pam Bondi said in a prepared statement that the three men plotted the murder as retaliation for a fight between the prisoner and Driver.
The list of agencies involved is a long one: Bondi’s Office of Statewide Prosecution and the Federal Bureau of Investigation made the arrest, but Homeland Security, the Florida Department of Corrections Office of Inspector General, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Florida Highway Patrol, the Florida Fish and Wildlife, the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office and the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office assisted.
The mens’ trial will take place in Columbia County.