Bridget Kelly, Christie's former deputy chief of staff, and Bill
Stepian, his former campaign manager, have so far not cooperated
with subpoenas issued by state lawmakers looking into the September
incident, when Christie aides apparently helped orchestrate traffic
jams at the busy George Washington Bridge.
The closing of several access lanes to the bridge, ostensibly due to
a traffic study that has never materialized, caused extensive,
hours-long delays for four days in the town of Fort Lee, where the
Democratic mayor had not endorsed Christie's re-election bid.
Christie, widely seen as a potential Republican candidate for the
White House in 2016, has said he was unaware of his aides' actions
and has severed ties with several of them.
Nevertheless, the scandal has hurt his image, and polls show him
losing ground as a potential presidential contender.
The subpoenas were issued in January by members of the
Democrat-controlled state legislature, and Mercer County Superior
Court Judge Mary Jacobson has ordered Kelly and Stepian to a court
hearing on Tuesday to explain why she should not force them to
Subpoenas were issued as well to Christie appointees at the Port
Authority of New York and New Jersey, which oversees the bridge, and
to other top Christie aides.
The U.S. Attorney for New Jersey, Paul Fishman, also has opened an
investigation into the traffic jams, which slowed school buses and
Kelly's attorney filed papers with the court last week laying out
arguments as to why she should not be compelled to produce the
documents, records and other communications sought in the subpoena.
[to top of second column]
The attorney, Michael Critchley, cited his client's constitutional
rights against self-incrimination, her protection against
unreasonable search and seizure, and her legal right to privacy.
He noted that Kelly is a likely subject of the U.S. attorney's
investigation and that the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution
is intended to protect innocent people "ensnared by ambiguous
"Ms. Kelly, therefore, finds herself ensnared in the very ambiguous
circumstances for which the Fifth Amendment's protections are meant
to serve," he wrote.
The scandal exploded with the public release of emails in January
that included one by Kelly to Port Authority executive David
Wildstein saying: "Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee."
Wildstein, a Christie appointee, replied: "Got it."
Wildstein resigned late last year, and Christie fired Kelly in
(Writing by Ellen Wulfhorst; editing by Scott Malone and Jonathan Oatis)
[© 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2014 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.