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 Christie for Governor 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 has also 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 officials refused to comment. The governor’s office did not return an email request for comment.
The traffic lanes were closed for four days in September, creating traffic gridlock in Fort Lee, the town at the base of the bridge on the New Jersey side. 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 has 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 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.
Also On Black America Web:
This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (11/26-12/2)
30 photos Launch gallery
1. Little Legend and Puddy 😍😍😍😍
1 of 30
2. "You on point Phife?" "all the time,Tip". 💥 #bannedfromnormal
2 of 30
3. Vegan! The Impossible burger at Crossroads
3 of 30
4. Lawrence #BeforeandAfterEpisodes 1-4: 184lbs 13% body fatEpisode 8: 196lbs 8% body fat S/O @coachdaveboxing with the works outs and @kildareriordan with the nutrition
4 of 30
5. Jus haaaanngin out
5 of 30
6. Meanwhile back at home in Atlanta GA someone mad they not on the 🛳. 😳
6 of 30
7. No limits... Photo cred: Chris Bridges @ludacris
7 of 30
8. new new
8 of 30
9. Apparently my 260lbs is too much for the actual vines in the Hawaiian jungles to hold me without breaking and me falling hundreds of feet. So for safety purposes, I'm forced to swing thru #Jumanjj on wires strong enough to hold 12 adult buffaloes and 1 adult Rock. #OnSet #Jumanji #IronicallyIEatBuffaloDailyForLunch #MoreManThanNatureKnowsWhatToDoWith
9 of 30
10. hey ma! 🎎#wcw 💙
10 of 30
11. Surprise visit to our factories!!! #GoodAmerican #USA
11 of 30
12 of 30
13. Peachy Keen 🔥✨⚡️
13 of 30
14. If this don't look thankful I don't know what does. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. #UltraBlessed #24kMagic #SweetPotatoFly
14 of 30
15. Late nights @nbcmarlon with the writers... we in here!!!
15 of 30
16. There goes my baaaaaaaaabbbbyyyyy #QueenKingMagic!!! We're up to something! Ira BIG!!! Stay out our buisness -
16 of 30
17. You want to win every game you play but when you come home to these faces... who cares. #ILoveYouGirls best part of my day, everyday!
17 of 30
18. Steady,steady..... full size jenga.. "I got this one "???? Or do I ?
18 of 30
19. Cornrows kind of day 😉@dontaysavoy2 you convinced me and I love. ❤️️
19 of 30
20. #BrotherlyLove #tbt
20 of 30
21 of 30
22. #basel #TeamLOVE @kingcombs
22 of 30
23. Just introduced a special screening of @directher 's groundbreaking (must see) documentary @13thfilm with my brother @themichaelealy | @unitedblackout #blackoutblackfriday
23 of 30
24. Me & Vanessa Williams giving #DuckLips #Pose on the set of #DaytimeDivas @vh1 - Coming Soon to a tv near you. Lol. - My make up done by @makeupsurgeon
24 of 30
25. This picture just makes me wanna praise the Lord, you hear me!!!!!! Yes Lord brotha #TEDDYCAMPBELL What a #man !!! You are everything right on this picture husband ......... #gorgeous #stylish #classy #strong #masculine #king #sexy #debonair #gentlemenstyle And that #bible in your hand just seals the deal for me (probably cause i know that, that is what helped you become just as amazing as you look😘). While my heart and mind experiences the goodness of God at #church on Sundays, my eyes experiences the goodness of Teddy😍. Amen somebody🙌🏽. "Bless the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me bless his holy name" #myman #myhusband #goodman #blackman #dapperman #godlyman #goodfather #mybestfriend
25 of 30
26. Yesterday was my mama's 53rd birthday!!!!! Got to celebrate with her all day. If this is what I have to look forward to I can't wait. Looking like a soft bucket a cocoa butter. Yaaaaaaaaaas! 😍😍😍 love you mommy!
26 of 30
27. "Shout out to @PureAtlanta for getting the family right"....I'm loving this jogger. 😍😍
27 of 30
28. This pic warms my heart ❤️ #myLogiebeans and aunt aunt umba @itowandabraxton 😘
28 of 30
29. You will always be my baby😜. #HappyBirthdayReginae #mybaby18
29 of 30
30. GC "Gods Child" Red on Red SweatSuit available now at www.MonicaApparel.com ... Take Your Crown wherever you go!! I'm pictured in a Medium... Go to the site now for other options ... cc: @trukernell
30 of 30