Jersey bridge probe committee to interview top Christie aide
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[July 17, 2014]
(Reuters) - The New Jersey committee
investigating the lane closures on the George Washington Bridge that
sparked a political firestorm will interview a top aide to Governor
Chris Christie on Thursday, although the probe has lost steam in recent
Regina Egea, Christie's incoming chief of staff, is slated to
testify before the legislative task force, following about a month
of inactivity from the panel. Egea formerly led the unit that
oversaw relations with the Port Authority of New York and New
Jersey, and internal documents indicated that Egea received one of
the administration's earliest warnings about the closures in Fort
Lee, New Jersey.
Members on the panel said the pace of the probe into the massive
September traffic disruption, which has been dubbed Bridgegate, had
slowed to a crawl because potential witnesses had refused to
The panel has interviewed just five of the 13 people it had planned
to question since forming in January.
In addition, the U.S. Attorney's Office for New Jersey asked the
committee to delay interviews with key witnesses to avoid
interfering with the criminal investigation, committee members told
Reuters on Wednesday.
"It leaves us with very slim pickings, in terms of witnesses," said
Assemblywoman Amy Handlin, a Republican on the committee, which is
controlled by Democrats.
The shutdown over four days of the access lanes in Fort Lee caused
hours-long snarls that delayed school buses, ambulances and
commuters. Critics have alleged the closures were orchestrated by
Christie's allies as retaliation against the city's Democratic mayor
who failed to endorse the Republican governor's re-election bid.
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The controversy has proved embarrassing for Christie as he considers
a 2016 run for the White House, although he has denied knowing about
the incident at the time or being involved.
The New York Times reported last month that a second bridge
investigation linked to Christie had been launched, focusing on
possible securities law violations involving the Pulaski Skyway
(Reporting by Daniel Kelley in Philadelphia; Editing by Curtis
Skinner and Peter Cooney)
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