(CNN) – Two key figures caught up in the George Washington Bridge traffic controversy that has upended the administration of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will not have to hand over information sought by a state legislative committee investigating the matter.
Mercer County Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobson on Wednesday dismissed the panel’s complaints that Bill Stepien and Bridget Kelly had not complied with requests for documents, citing their constitutional right against self-incrimination.
Kelly, a former Christie deputy chief of staff, and Stepien, the governor's former campaign manager, were fighting requests to turn over texts, emails and other documents related to its probe.
The scandal involves suggestions Christie appointees abused their authority by orchestrating traffic jams at the foot of the nation's busiest bridge in Fort Lee last September in a scheme that may have been politically motivated.
The saga has called into question Christie's forceful governing style and clouded prospects for a potential Republican presidential candidacy in 2016.
Lawyers for Kelly and Stepien argued their clients' innocence and contended that turning over documents would infringe on their rights to remain silent, which they previously invoked.
Kelly has emerged as a central figure in the traffic mess, while Stepien's name surfaced less prominently around the scandal.
Neither has been charged with any wrongdoing.
The requests for information were limited to traffic jams caused by closure of two bridge access lanes, he said.
Stepien's lawyer, Kevin Marino, said the decision "represents a complete vindication" of his client. "In its zeal to achieve a blatantly political goal having nothing to do with Mr. Stepien, the committee disregarded the fundamental constitutional rights of this innocent man."
Assemblyman John Wisniewski, Democratic co-chair of the investigative committee, said it will consult with its counsel and consider its options.
"The committee felt it was very much in the public interest to seek to compel the production of these documents, but as we've said before, there's more than one method to gather information in an investigation, and we will consider alternatives," he said in a statement. "We will continue exploring every avenue to find out what happened with this threat to public safety and abuse of government power."
Reid Schar, special counsel for the panel, had told the judge that its subpoenas were narrow and should be followed. The requests for information were limited to traffic jams caused by closure of two bridge access lanes, he said.
Kelly's lawyer, Michael Critchley, said the court’s decision "provides a free tutorial on the protections the Fifth Amendment affords all citizens."
"The decision is thorough and well-reasoned and is a complete rejection of the committee's attempt to strip Ms. Kelly of her constitutional rights," he said in a statement.
Stepien's lawyer, Kevin Marino, said the decision "represents a complete vindication" of his client.
"In its zeal to achieve a blatantly political goal having nothing to do with Mr. Stepien, the committee disregarded the fundamental constitutional rights of this innocent man."
Other figures in the scandal have complied with the committee's request for information.
The U.S. Attorney's office is also investigating the matter.
Christie has said he only found out about the traffic jams after they occurred, and knew nothing about possible political mischief by his associates.
An internal review of the lane closures by outside lawyers hired by Christie's office cleared him of any wrongdoing. But critics are skeptical that that investigation was not thorough enough.
CNN's Ashley Killough, Shimon Prokupecz, Steve Kastenbaum and Chris Frates contributed to this report.