Ex-Christie adviser again refuses to answer subpoena
February 18th, 2014
02:21 PM ET
7 months ago

Ex-Christie adviser again refuses to answer subpoena

Updated 3:05 p.m. ET, 2/18/2014

(CNN) – A former top political adviser to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie again objected to complying with a subpoena from a state legislative committee that's investigating the George Washington Bridge scandal.

Bill Stepien's lawyer, Kevin Marino, wrote in a letter Tuesday to the committee's counsel that Stepien will not provide the requested documents, saying he can “think of no lawful way the committee can obtain” the material.

"His principled objections to the subpoena raise significant legal issues that are no less valid because they here arise in the context of a politically-charged investigation," Marino writes.

The co-chairs of the legislative committee, Assemblyman John Wisniewski and Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, released a statement Tuesday saying they've received the letter.

“We will review it and continue our efforts to enforce the subpoena served on William Stepien," they said.

The committee issued the second round of subpoenas last week, after Stepien, along with another ex-Christie aide, Bridget Anne Kelley, refused to comply with the first round.

Stepien was a close adviser of Christie's and managed both of his gubernatorial campaigns.

Stepien's name surfaced in emails last month suggesting top Christie appointees orchestrated traffic gridlock around the bridge in Fort Lee to punish that town’s mayor politically for not endorsing the governor for reelection.

Christie said in a subsequent news conference that he had fired Kelly, while Stepien "was asked to leave my organization."

Christie said he also withdrew his support for Stepien to take over the New Jersey Republican Party, and Stepien's consulting contract with the Christie-helmed Republican Governors Association was terminated.

In addition to the state legislature, the U.S. Attorney’s Office is conducting a probe of the bridge scandal.

Christie has said he knew nothing of the traffic mess until after it occurred and only when media began reporting on it. He also has denied any knowledge of potential political mischief by advisers.

CNN’s Chris Frates and Peter Hamby contributed to this report.


Filed under: Chris Christie • New Jersey
soundoff (23 Responses)
  1. The Real Tom Paine

    -His principled objections to the subpoena raise significant legal issues that are no less valid because they here arise in the context of a politically-charged investigation," Marino writes.
    *************
    There would be no "politically-charged" investigation if his actions had not been politically charged to begin with. Hopefully, the US Attorney can compell him to turn over the documents.

    February 18, 2014 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  2. Thomas

    It's like dealing with gangsters .

    New Jersey style pizza .

    February 18, 2014 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  3. "Breath and Release"

    The simple fact is that when you have nothing to hide it's easy to cooperate.

    February 18, 2014 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  4. sammy750

    Gov. C. Christie and his gang is the worst scandal in NJ in decades. It like having a party of gangsters running the state under Christie. But the Republicans will protect Christie. These are the type they like controlling the states.

    February 18, 2014 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  5. Rudy NYC

    Does anyone know what NJ law says about elected officials conducting government business on personal phones and other electronic devices? If it's not against the law, then it should be. Even Alaska has a law on the books prohibiting the practice. I know because that is part of what got Sarah Palin in hot water during her stint as governor.

    February 18, 2014 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  6. sammy750

    I suspect AG Holder will get involved and try to clean up NJ and all the criminal acts going on.

    February 18, 2014 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  7. Jojola

    Like the scripture says, "What you do in the dark shall come to light". For all those who thought Christie was presidential material, a strobe light has been cast upon his character. Just imagine him as POTUS. We would probably end up in so many wars we couldn't keep track due to his personal vendettas. Also, he would give new meaning to the phrase “bully pulpit”. Meaning, if the House and Senate did not agree with him, the “wrath of Christie” would bully……… I mean persuade them otherwise.

    February 18, 2014 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  8. DemFromSC

    I lived in NJ for the first several of Christie's years as governor. Trust me when I say that you do NOT want that man's fingers on the nuclear war button – he is a dangerous egomaniac with a terrible temper.

    February 18, 2014 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  9. PaulCat

    This tells me he has a lot to hide. Sent all of them to JAIL. Oh that's right, only if you are a republican, the law does not apply. You do as you please and when you please. "Gooo GOP"

    February 18, 2014 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  10. Tommy G

    Hmmmm.... looks like this guy is taking pages out of the Obama playbook. Let's see how the Democrat's like some of their own medicine.

    February 18, 2014 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  11. calliTLikeIseeIt

    Now they can investigate DHS for "saltgate" How many will be injured from the delay in salting the roads?

    February 18, 2014 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  12. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    Something tells me Governor Bluster is very concerned about all of this. He has been keeping a very low profile which is totally out of character for him!

    February 18, 2014 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  13. salty dog

    The water is getting a little hotter, put her in front of a grand jury, then lets see what she says.

    February 18, 2014 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  14. salty dog

    If rick Scott can take the fifth on every question, you won't get them to talk . The gop has no standard for its members, none, oh wait, being white helps tremendously.

    February 18, 2014 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  15. ThinkAgain

    When you refuse to answer a subpoena, isn't that contempt and punishable by imprisonment?

    February 18, 2014 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  16. Namelinda

    They are all guilty and hiding evidence, getting their stories straight, and hiding behind the law so far. If I am not guilty why not comply? Someone will crack sooner or later. A scandal this big has many players.

    February 18, 2014 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  17. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    @Tommy G
    Hmmmm.... looks like this guy is taking pages out of the Obama playbook. Let's see how the Democrat's like some of their own medicine.

    No Tommy, it's the Darrell Issa playbook that the Dems are working from.

    February 18, 2014 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  18. Rudy NYC

    Tommy G

    Hmmmm.... looks like this guy is taking pages out of the Obama playbook. Let's see how the Democrat's like some of their own medicine.
    ------------------
    No, Tommy. Governors and their staffs do not get executive privilige like the POTUS. They have to plead the 4th and 5th Amendments. They will eventually lose, though. They are withholding what are supposed to public records, but they are claiming the 4th because they used personally owned electronic devices to perfrom the public duties.

    This is why states have laws prohibitng public business from being conducted using someone's personal equipement or accounts. Suppose the Treasurer decides to hold expense money for his entire department in his personal bank account. Christie's people used private email accounts and electronic devices, which you do only if you want to hide something.

    February 18, 2014 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  19. Rudy NYC

    salty dog

    The water is getting a little hotter, put her in front of a grand jury, then lets see what she says.
    ------------------------
    That's not how grand juries work. A potential defendant never appears before a grand jury.

    February 18, 2014 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  20. Name a non religious fundamentalist republican

    Tommy G says:
    February 18, 2014 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm
    Hmmmm…. looks like this guy is taking pages out of the Obama playbook. Let’s see how the Democrat’s like some of their own medicine
    ----

    Please cite every subpoena that has been issued to Obama.

    Every time you post I realize just how low our education system has fallen.

    February 18, 2014 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  21. Name

    Christie and his administration is a total FRAUD!! Christie must be impeached!

    February 18, 2014 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  22. Randal

    Just plead the 5th like Lerner did. Problem just goes away. Follow Obamas lead

    February 18, 2014 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  23. Wake up People!

    Is anyone else as outraged as I am about Ted Nugent's calling the POTUS, a subhuman mongrel??? How utterly disrespectful.....

    This is a sad day for me and to see no one even gives a damn.

    At least I know where they get their acorn community organizer from.

    February 18, 2014 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |