Christie's campaign, state GOP subpoenaed over bridge closures - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

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>>

  • NJ store clerk accused of kissing customer

    NJ store clerk accused of kissing customer

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 8:41 AM EDT2014-08-27 12:41:29 GMT
    Police say a convenience store clerk in New Jersey hugged and kissed her against her will.
    Police say a convenience store clerk in New Jersey hugged and kissed her against her will.
  • NJ girl accidentally kills gun instructor

    NJ girl accidentally kills gun instructor

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 7:24 AM EDT2014-08-27 11:24:14 GMT
    A 9-year-old girl from New Jersey accidentally killed an Arizona shooting instructor as he was showing her how to use a fully automatic Uzi. Charles Vacca, 39, was standing next to the girl at the Last Stop outdoor shooting range when she pulled the trigger and the recoil sent the gun over her head, investigators said.
    A 9-year-old girl from New Jersey accidentally killed an Arizona shooting instructor as he was showing her how to use a fully automatic Uzi. Charles Vacca, 39, was standing next to the girl at the Last Stop outdoor shooting range when she pulled the trigger and the recoil sent the gun over her head, investigators said.
  • Potential buyer looks at Showboat Casino

    Potential buyer looks at Showboat Casino

    Tuesday, August 26 2014 3:05 PM EDT2014-08-26 19:05:43 GMT
    Caesars Entertainment is showing the soon-to-close Showboat Casino Hotel to "an interested party," but won't say who it is.Company spokesman Gary Thompson told The Associated Press that Caesars officials were showing the Showboat on Tuesday to a party that had expressed interest.
    Caesars Entertainment is showing the soon-to-close Showboat Casino Hotel to "an interested party," but won't say who it is.Company spokesman Gary Thompson told The Associated Press that Caesars officials were showing the Showboat on Tuesday to a party that had expressed interest.
Powered by WorldNow

WHBQ-TV | Fox 13
485 S. Highland St.
Memphis, TN 38111

Main Station: (901) 320-1313
Newsroom: (901) 320-1340

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices