By Edith Honan and Ellen Wulfhorst
NEW YORK Jan 17 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
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
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
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
On Thursday, the Christie administration, which says it is
cooperating fully with the probes, hired outside legal counsel.