Committee expands Christie administration bridge probe
February 10th, 2014
06:14 PM ET
8 months ago

Committee expands Christie administration bridge probe

Updated 8:05 p.m. ET, 2/10/2014

Trenton, New Jersey (CNN) - A joint state legislative committee investigating the traffic scandal in New Jersey that has roiled Gov. Chris Christie's administration plans to issue more than a dozen new subpoenas.

Sources familiar with the matter told CNN that 18 subpoenas will be issued on Tuesday. Four will go to individuals or offices that have been served once already.

Those to be issued subpoenas for the first time include the custodian of records for the State Police aviation unit and the custodian of records for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

Several more employees in Christie's office are also on the list, the sources said.

So far, investigators have subpoenaed 20 individuals and groups, including top administration and political advisers to Christie.

The governor, himself, has not been served with a subpoena, but his office in general has.

State legislators and the U.S. attorney's office are investigating suggestions top Christie appointees orchestrated traffic jams over several days last September 9 through 13 by closing access lanes to the George Washington Bridge in Fort Lee to politically punish that town's mayor for not endorsing the governor for reelection.

Christie has denied knowing anything about the gridlock until after it occurred, and has said he knew nothing about any political mischief by members of his administration.

The scandal has called into question Christie's swagger and his blunt governing style, which has been a positive with voters through two gubernatorial elections, and has clouded his prospects as a potential 2016 presidential candidate.

In a new twist, legislative investigators want to know whether Christie flew over the traffic gridlock in a State Police helicopter while returning to Trenton from a 9/11 event.

This could be important because Christie has said he knew nothing about the traffic mess until it was over and surfaced in media reports.

Moreover, investigators want to know if David Wildstein, a top Christie appointee at the Port Authority at the time who is at the center of the bridge-lane closure scandal, was aboard.

A Christie spokesman told CNN that Christie used the copter to travel from New York to Trenton following the 9/11 event and said Wildstein "did not ride with the governor."

What's unclear, however, is whether Christie flew over the George Washington Bridge, which is well north of where the ceremony took place at "Ground Zero" in lower Manhattan.

There are also questions about how Christie's administration handled the distribution of Superstorm Sandy relief money to the city of Hoboken.

Mayor Dawn Zimmer has alleged that members of the governor's administration conditioned storm relief on her support for a redevelopment project backed by Christie.

Those officials, including Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, vigorously deny the allegations.

In a new development in that matter, Zimmer's office has declined to provide documents and take part in a private interview with Christie's office as his team of lawyers conducts its own investigation.

Randy Mastro, who represents Christie's office, wrote to multiple members of Zimmer's office on February 4, asking for their assistance.

But in a letter of their own two days later, Zimmer's lawyers questioned the appropriateness of the governor's office "investigating itself" when there is already a federal probe underway.

U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman is also looking into Zimmer's allegations as well.


Filed under: Chris Christie • New Jersey
soundoff (31 Responses)
  1. Tampa Tim

    The mayor has met with federal agents, so any attempts by the Krispy legal defense group should be illegal. Seems like the Krispy group is back to bullying, intimidation, and even more illegal activity, making it worse for the wounded republican candidate.

    February 10, 2014 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  2. much thunder...little rain

    sounds like the mayor may be a liar

    February 10, 2014 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  3. O'drama ya Mama

    Sounds like they are looking for some sort of under the table settlement to make this go away

    February 10, 2014 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  4. Fair is Fair

    Tampa Tim

    The mayor has met with federal agents, so any attempts by the Krispy legal defense group should be illegal. Seems like the Krispy group is back to bullying, intimidation, and even more illegal activity, making it worse for the wounded republican candidate.
    --------
    Both sides in a case are allowed discovery, Timmy.

    February 10, 2014 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  5. Sniffit

    Of course they were turned down. There are ongoing investigations by the US Attorney's office, DOJ and the state legislature. The request for documents and an "interview" were absurd and they knew it. This was a move designed solely to elicit the refusal they knew it would elicit and then send out talking points about the refusal to hand over the documents and submit the mayor to an "interview" with Christie's 5 attorneys...no doubt asking people to conclude that the mayor is "hiding something" despite having cooperated and given everything to the proper investigating authorities.

    February 10, 2014 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  6. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    But Zimmer's lawyers questioned the appropriateness of the governor's office "investigating itself" when there is already a federal probe underway.
    -------------------------------------------------
    Yeah, how about that?
    I'm with Zimmer.
    Why give Christie's henchmen a chance to review what may very well be incriminating evidence on the good Gov thus putting them in an advatageous position.
    That's like letting somebody see your hand when you're playing cards.

    February 10, 2014 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  7. Tampa Tim

    If the mayor lied to the U.S. Attorney's office, she will go to jail. If this is an attempt by the Krispy team to obstruct justice, then they should be afforded the same results. So far, the mayor is doing the right thing.

    February 10, 2014 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  8. Steve, New York City

    ok for the Hoboken mayor to accuse. . .but then her people won't cooperate with various, legitimate investigatory actions? That doesn't seem right.

    February 10, 2014 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  9. Rudy NYC

    More than 80% of zHoboken's one square mile was underwater, and they have only received some $300,000 dollars or so in Sandy Relief federal aid, which was less than 1% of what was requested or expected. Hoboken sits directly on the Hudson River, which severely flooded lower Manhattan in many places.

    Curiously, though, in the not so particularly hard hit Essex county you can find the town of Belleville. Belleville is home to a long planned senrior citizen home. Almost two million in Sandy Relief dollars went towards the construction project that had long been in the planning stages before Sandy hit. In other words, the building had not been started yet, so it's not like the storm damaged a construction site. BTW, the mayor of Belleville also gave Chris Christie a ringing endorsement.

    February 10, 2014 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  10. Tampa Tim

    Fairy – All information will be made available to Krispy's legal team in due time. So far, these requests, are attempts to circle the wagons for their wounded candidate.

    February 10, 2014 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  11. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Where's Our $24 Billion?

    There's no internal review being done. They want her documents so they can throw some spin on her testimony.

    February 10, 2014 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  12. Sniffit

    "Both sides in a case are allowed discovery, Timmy."

    What case? There's no pending litigation between these "parties." These were not discovery requests.

    February 10, 2014 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  13. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Where's Our $24 Billion?

    Steve, New York City
    ok for the Hoboken mayor to accuse. . .but then her people won't cooperate with various, legitimate investigatory actions? That doesn't seem right.
    --------------------------------------–
    She's not under subpoena to provide those documents to Christie's lawyers for their bogus internal review.

    February 10, 2014 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  14. Rudy NYC

    Fair is Fair wrote:

    Both sides in a case are allowed discovery, Timmy.
    -------------------------
    I don't think any of the investigations have reached the point where there is an actual "case." What the governor's office is doing could easily be misconstrued as witness tampering and obstruction of justice. Christie needs to sit back, shut his mouth on the subject, and keep his nose clean. Everything that he says and does related to the issues just raise more questions and suspicions over his guilt.

    February 10, 2014 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  15. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Where's Our $24 Billion?

    How is this not witness tampering?

    February 10, 2014 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  16. Tampa Tim

    Krispy's legal team already has Zimmer's elementary and high school records. They probably will use gum chewing in study hall to discredit her. Soon the legal team for Krispy will find a teacher who didn't like her, and that will be run on Fox for 6 months. Republicans are good at this.

    February 10, 2014 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  17. dzerres

    Some people are so dense. The "investigation" by the Governor's office (he's investigating himself) is not any kind of activity that has any legal status. The governor's office doesn't have subpoena power or power to swear in witnesses or power to hold anyone in contempt. This would be OK if there weren't real investigations already going on based in the legislature and the US Attorney's office. The Mayor has every right to say, "pound sand".

    February 10, 2014 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  18. Kathleen Farrell

    Wow. Is Christie going to say he knew nothing about this incredibly unethical move by his staff? Again?

    February 10, 2014 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  19. rla

    I thought the he said -she said was not fact in any way??? Guess the progressives again change the rules to fit their political aganda

    February 10, 2014 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  20. Tampa Tim

    Krispy has shown time after time that he is clueless. As an attorney he should know better.

    February 10, 2014 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  21. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Wow. Is Christie going to say he knew nothing about this incredibly unethical move by his staff? Again?
    -------------------------------------------------
    Why yes, come to think of it, yes he is.

    February 10, 2014 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  22. Sniffit

    "How is this not witness tampering?"

    I think Christie's office is trying to do this under the auspices of pretending to conduct its own investigation. What is telling is that this was not attempted via subpoena or something more official than just letter requests. Anyway, that makes witness tampering seem a bit of a stretch. The real attack will come via that other attorney, Zayas, who just filed another suit against her and has a chip on her shoulder because he claims she lied in a deposition from a previous suit he filed against her. He says she lied in deposition about whether she keeps a calendar or notes or a diary...although if you read the deposition, she appears to have been truthful in the context of the questions. He will now try to depose her again in the new suit, and will spend all kinds of time using that deposition to try to put her in a catch-22 of "either you lied then or you're lying now." I would not be surprised if Christie then uses the state executive branch to investigate her for perjury and thereby gain the leverage over her that he wants, not to mention impugning her credibility prior to her potentially testifying against him and his Lt. Gov.

    February 10, 2014 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  23. Rudy NYC

    What was it that Christie had said about his office "will fully cooperate with any *legitimate* investigation" into the allegations?

    February 10, 2014 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  24. xray vision

    Fair Steve, she's owes them nothing, another bottom of the barrel move by Christie, they have no authority to demand squat from her.

    February 10, 2014 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  25. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Sounds like they are looking for some sort of under the table settlement to make this go away
    -------------------------------------------------
    Mmm-hmm.
    IF they could make it go away at this point, which seems unlikely given the number of players OUTSIDE of New Jersey that are now actively involved in this investigation.
    Let the chips and the Krispy Kremes fall where they may, I say.

    February 10, 2014 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
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