Christie's campaign, state GOP subpoenaed over bridge closures - New York News

Christie's campaign, state GOP subpoenaed over bridge closures

Posted: Updated:

ANGELA DELLI SANTI | AP

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Federal prosecutors have escalated their criminal investigation into allegations that Gov. Chris Christie's aides created traffic jams as political payback, subpoenaing his re-election campaign and the state Republican leadership.

The subpoenas seek documents related to the closure of traffic lanes near the George Washington Bridge, according to Mark Sheridan, a lawyer representing the Christie for Governor organization and the Republican State Committee.

The subpoenas were disclosed Thursday, the same day the Republican governor's campaign announced it had hired the Washington, D.C., law firm Patton Boggs in the case. Sheridan works for the firm and is general counsel for the state Republican committee.

A state legislative committee investigating the traffic jams also has issued a subpoena to the Christie campaign.

"The campaign and the state party intend to cooperate with the U.S. attorney's office and the state legislative committee and will respond to the subpoenas accordingly," Sheridan told The Associated Press.

The federal subpoenas are due Feb. 5. The state committee subpoenas must be returned Feb. 3.

Earlier this month, U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman said only that his office was reviewing the matter "to determine whether a federal law was implicated."

Christie, a potential presidential candidate in 2016, was New Jersey's U.S. attorney before stepping down in late 2008 to run for governor.

Federal prosecutors refused to comment Thursday. Christie, in Camden to talk about a school dinner program, left without taking any questions.

The traffic lanes were closed for four days in September, creating traffic gridlock in Fort Lee, the town at the base of the bridge. Some of Christie's aides initially said the closures were part of a traffic study, but emails and text messages turned over to legislators suggest it may have been a message to the town's Democratic mayor for not endorsing Christie.

Four people close to Christie have been fired or resigned as the scandal has unfolded, including Christie's two-time campaign manager, Bill Stepien.

Emails subpoenaed in the state investigation and released publicly this month showed Stepien appearing to gloat over the traffic chaos the lane closures caused. Emergency vehicles, school buses and commuters were delayed, some for hours.

After learning of the correspondence, Christie asked Stepien to withdraw a bid to become the next state GOP chairman, saying he was disturbed by Stepien's "callous indifference." Stepien had widely been seen as a potential campaign manager in a Christie presidential run.

The emails, mostly sent from private accounts, also showed the involvement of Christie's deputy chief of staff, Bridget Kelly, whom he fired.

"Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee," she emailed to a Christie loyalist at the agency that runs the bridge, about three weeks before the lanes were abruptly blocked to local traffic.

"Got it," replied the recipient, David Wildstein, Christie's No. 2 man at the agency.

Wildstein and Christie's top deputy at the agency, Bill Baroni, have resigned.

Legal experts have told the AP that possible charges arising out of the political payback scandal could range from conspiracy and official misconduct to perjury or obstruction.

They said the easiest charge to bring might be conspiracy, given that documents have already shown a number of people working together to shut down a road for apparently illegal purposes.

If it turns out the purported traffic study was produced in an attempt to conceal political retribution, the experts said, obstruction charges could be brought.

Associated Press reporter David Porter contributed from Newark.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


  • New Jersey NewsNew Jersey NewsMore>>

  • Firefighters rescue crane operator

    Firefighters rescue crane operator

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 6:12 AM EDT2014-07-30 10:12:48 GMT
    Firefighters in northern New Jersey rescued an Iowa man when his bucket crane buckled. Josh Lovell of Melcher, Iowa, was working on lights when the crane broke Tuesday.
    Firefighters in northern New Jersey rescued an Iowa man when his bucket crane buckled. Josh Lovell of Melcher, Iowa, was working on lights when the crane broke Tuesday.

  • Man convicted of murder in fatal sauce pan beating

    Man convicted of murder in fatal sauce pan beating

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 4:48 PM EDT2014-07-29 20:48:41 GMT
    A man who claimed he was high on drugs and hearing voices when he fatally beat an elderly man with a sauce pan has been found guilty of felony murder.
    A New Jersey man who said he was high on drugs and hearing voices when he fatally beat an elderly man with a sauce pan has been convicted of murder.
  • Mosquito-borne virus sickens 20 in NJ

    West Nile found in New Jersey mosquitoes

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 1:09 PM EDT2014-07-29 17:09:31 GMT
    Twenty New Jersey residents have tested positive for a mosquito-borne virus that has spread through the Caribbean. The state Health Department says the residents who came down with chikungunya had returned to New Jersey from the Caribbean. Chikungunya causes a high fever and severe pain in the joints. It is rarely fatal.
    Twenty New Jersey residents have tested positive for a mosquito-borne virus that has spread through the Caribbean. The state Health Department says the residents who came down with chikungunya had returned to New Jersey from the Caribbean. Chikungunya causes a high fever and severe pain in the joints. It is rarely fatal.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices