Christie's top aides among 20 subpoenaed in bridge scandal
TRENTON - Republican Gov. Chris Christie's top staffers are among 20 people and organizations subpoenaed in a widening traffic-jam scandal that has shaken his administration.
Christie's chief of staff, chief counsel and top communications aide are among those who received subpoenas Thursday and yesterday. The Christie for Governor campaign organization also was subpoenaed, although the governor wasn't.
The subpoenas seek documents in the investigation of a scheme to close traffic lanes near the George Washington Bridge, one of the world's busiest bridges, causing massive traffic tie-ups. The plot may have been carried out to settle a political score.
Some of those on the list could be called to testify later.
The lawyer representing one person implicated in the plot says his client would testify if granted immunity from prosecution.
Christie has apologized for the traffic jams and said they "blindsided" him. He has called his staff's behavior "stupid."
The subpoenas, among a total of 20 issued Thursday and yesterday, seek documents that could shed light on who was behind a plot to create the traffic jams in Fort Lee and whether it was done to settle a political score. Some people who are being asked to turn over text messages and emails could be called to testify later. Documents must be returned early next month.
Democratic Assemblyman John Wisniewski, who is heading the legislative investigation, said Christie is not a target.
"What we're really looking at is the why," Wisniewski said. "We know who sent out the request to close those lanes. We know who received it. We don't know why it was sent. We don't know who gave that person authorization to send it. We don't know why she felt empowered to send it."
The scandal broke wide open last week with the release of documents showing that a top Christie aide sent a message saying "time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee" to the governor's No. 2 man at the agency that runs the George Washington Bridge. That appointee, David Wildstein, replied, "got it."
The investigation into the lane closings threatens to upend Christie's second term and derail any presidential ambitions. Four members of his circle, including Wildstein, a friend since high school, have lost their jobs.
Yesterday, Christie was in Camden for a ceremonial swearing-in for a new justice on the state Supreme Court before heading to Florida for a weekend of private political fundraisers.