Top Christie aides subpoenaed in New Jersey bridge probe

NEW YORK Fri Jan 17, 2014 6:19pm EST

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie speaks during his annual State of the State address in Trenton, New Jersey January 14, 2014. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie speaks during his annual State of the State address in Trenton, New Jersey January 14, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Lucas Jackson

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Twenty New Jersey officials, including top aides to Governor Chris Christie, were served with subpoenas on Friday as the state assembly begins its investigation into a massive bridge traffic jam that was apparently politically motivated.

Christie, seen as a likely Republican candidate for the White House in 2016, has denied any involvement in the so-called "Bridgegate" scandal that is dogging his second term in office.

Assembly Democrats said 20 subpoenas had gone out seeking information related to the September traffic snarl, created by the abrupt closing of access lanes to the busy George Washington Bridge, which spans the Hudson River connecting New York and New Jersey.

Among those receiving subpoenas were Christie spokesmen Michael Drewniak and Colin Reed, communications director Maria Comella, the governor's incoming chief of staff Regina Egea, and Christie's former campaign manager Bill Stepien.

The list also includes David Samson, chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, as well as Bill Baroni and David Wildstein, two former Port Authority officials who have resigned.

Two batches of emails between top Christie aides and officials at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which oversees the bridge, appeared to show the lane closures were orchestrated to punish Fort Lee's Democratic mayor for not endorsing Governor Christie's re-election bid last year.

Four days of hours-long jams left commuters fuming, and delayed school buses and emergency vehicles.

Nothing in the emails suggests that Christie had any direct knowledge of the plan to close the lanes. Christie has described himself as devastated and "blindsided" by his aides' actions.

Port Authority Executive Director Patrick Foye, who ordered the lanes reopened, said in publicly released emails that he believed the closings violated state and federal law. New Jersey's federal prosecutor has opened an investigation into the matter.

A New Jersey state Senate panel is likely to issue subpoenas next week as part of its own investigation.

"We're going to try to work together," said State Senator Loretta Weinberg.

On Thursday, the Christie administration, which says it is cooperating fully with the probes, hired outside legal counsel.

(Editing by Gunna Dickson)

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Comments (17)
longtail wrote:
I believe Christie said he would cooperate with investigations he thought appropriate. I don’t think he finds this one appropriate.

Jan 17, 2014 11:31am EST  --  Report as abuse
gcf1965 wrote:
I think this was all over a youtube movie, it is a non issue, he didn’t know about it and was not involved, this is just a political witch hunt by those who don’t like him because he is white, a mountain out of a mole hill….. I figure it is good enough for obama’s lemmings, maybe it will work for Christie.

Jan 17, 2014 1:28pm EST  --  Report as abuse
@gcf1965, the key difference here is Chirstie’s staff, if not the man himself, ordered the lane shutdown as political retribution. In the case of Benghazi, neither Obama nor any one in the Administration ordered the attack on Benghazi. Just goes to show how your hate for Obama has polarized your outlook that you would miss/not understand this fundamental difference.

Jan 17, 2014 2:13pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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