One of Gov. Chris Christie's closest friends and political advisers is joining a prominent New Jersey law firm.

Bill Palatucci (Image courtesy of Facebook)

Bill Palatucci resigned last week as a senior vice president and general counsel at Community Education Centers, New Jersey's largest operator of privately run halfway houses.

He'll be joining the firm Gibbons P.C. as special counsel. The company announced Palatucci's hiring Thursday in a press release.

Palatucci was working at CEC when it was criticized at recent legislative hearings following a series of articles in The New York Times describing escapes, violence, security lapses, drug use and other problems at their facilities.

Palatucci is a close friend and political adviser to Christie.

He has declined to say whether he's preparing to help Christie if he decides to run for re-election.

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