First subpoenas for testimony issued by N.J. bridge probe committee
April 22nd, 2014
04:53 PM ET
7 months ago

First subpoenas for testimony issued by N.J. bridge probe committee

(CNN) - A special New Jersey state legislative committee investigating the George Washington Bridge scandal that has upended Gov. Chris Christie’s administration has issued its first subpoenas for oral testimony.

The panel said it had served Pat Foye, the executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, agency board member William Schuber, Christie spokesman Michael Drewniak and Christina Renna, who worked under Christie’s former deputy chief of staff Bridget Anne Kelly, a key figure in the scandal.

Renna and Schuber were asked to testify on May 6, and the other two on May 13.

“With these subpoenas for testimony, the joint committee is moving to a key stage of its investigation into how this abuse of government power and threat to public safety occurred,” the committee’s Democratic co-chairs, Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg and Assemblyman John Wisniewski, said in a statement.

The panel already has issued a number of subpoenas for documents and other information related to the investigation of suggestions top Christie appointees orchestrated traffic jams around the nation’s busiest bridge in Fort Lee last year as part of an alleged political payback scheme.

Wisniewski said investigators still only have a partial picture of what happened in the period before access lanes to the bridge were deliberately closed over a four-day period last September.

The most sensational piece of evidence unearthed so far is an email from Kelly to David Wildstein, a Port Authority executive that read:
“Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee.”

Wildstein replied: “Got it.”

Wisniewski told CNN that investigators “still don’t know what happened before that email,” which was sent weeks before the lane closures occurred.

“The testimony will help us get to that point where we'll ultimately be able to answer those questions,” Wisniewksi said.

The four Republican members of the committee believe they already have enough information to craft legislation aimed at preventing abuse of authority.

“We don’t understand the reason for waiting,” Assemblywoman Amy Handlin said. “It’s fine to continue to hunt for clues as to why Bridget Kelly and the others did what they did but we can walk and chew gum at the same time.”

Kelly went to court and successfully fought off her subpoena from the committee for documents and other information. She was not asked to testify.

Christie has repeatedly denied having had any role in the planning of the lane closures or having known about them ahead of time.

An internal review conducted by lawyers hired by Christie’s office cleared him of any wrongdoing and pointed the finger at Kelly and Wildstein. Critics claim that review was a whitewash.

On Monday, Christie would not discuss whether he expected to be called to testify before the legislative committee.

The U.S. Attorney’s office is also investigating the matter, and a grand jury has heard from witnesses.


Filed under: Chris Christie • New Jersey
soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. Thomas

    On Monday, Christie would not discuss whether he expected to be called to testify before the legislative committee.

    It's Tuesday !

    April 22, 2014 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  2. NamejJK. SFL. VOTE THE GOP ANTI-HEALTHCARE PARTY OUT iN NOVEMBER

    Well, you KNOW how girls TALK, and I used to like Christi but I don't thing I could vote for him to be PRESIDENT. They might beat up Pushkin , I mean , Putin ??????

    April 22, 2014 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  3. Tommy G

    The most sensational piece of evidence unearthed so far is an email from Kelly to David Wildstein, a Port Authority executive that read:
    “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee.”
    Wildstein replied: “Got it.”
    --

    Does anybody see Christie's name in there??? Nope. Just more of the same politically motivated with hunt by the Democrats that will cost the NJ taxpayers countless millions of their tax dollars. I guess the tax rates in NJ will need to be increased to fund this massive witch hunt.

    April 22, 2014 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  4. Sniffit

    "An internal review conducted by lawyers hired by Christie’s office cleared him of any wrongdoing and pointed the finger at Kelly and Wildstein. Critics claim that review was a whitewash."

    And polls showed the majority of NJ thought it was a whitewash too.

    April 22, 2014 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  5. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    Christie will skate whether he's guilty or not. The GOP will see to it. They are desperate to regain the WH and will lie, cheat and steal to get it. They know Christie is their only hope. They may not like him one bit but they crave the WH like an addict craves drugs.

    Mark my words, Christie will walk. And yes I believe he's guilty as hell, however he is their only hope.

    April 22, 2014 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  6. O'drama ya Mama

    Tommy G

    The most sensational piece of evidence unearthed so far is an email from Kelly to David Wildstein, a Port Authority executive that read:
    “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee.”
    Wildstein replied: “Got it.”
    -

    Does anybody see Christie's name in there??? Nope. Just more of the same politically motivated with hunt by the Democrats that will cost the NJ taxpayers countless millions of their tax dollars. I guess the tax rates in NJ will need to be increased to fund this massive witch hunt.
    April 22, 2014 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
    _________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Christie's name isnt in a whole 2 text messages? You're right, nothing to see...smh. You would think that if Christie really wasnt involved then Kelly would have no problem cooperating with the subpena. Clearly she has something to hide

    April 22, 2014 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  7. Sniffit

    "Does anybody see Christie's name in there??? Nope. Just more of the same politically motivated with hunt by the Democrats that will cost the NJ taxpayers countless millions of their tax dollars. I guess the tax rates in NJ will need to be increased to fund this massive witch hunt."

    Yawn. Do YOU have a credible explanation for why his closest aides, two of whom (Stepien and Kelly) were parked in offices not 20 feet from his office and were attached to him at the hip, felt they could order something on this scale? How he somehow didn't know what they were up to? Why they were able to speak in vague emails in a fashion clearly evidencing that this had been something well planned and talked about for some time and that everyone clearly knew what was being referred to and what their marching orders were? Why Christie's statements have at times been self-contradictory in terms of things like when he knew or found out and who told him what and when? Why David Wildstein is not cooperating with federal prosecutors in hopes of getting immunity or a plea deal...and who he just might be throwing under the bus to get it? There's there here....unlike with the GOP/Teatrolls and inconvenient documentary evidence showing things like the fact that progressive groups were scrutinized too when applying for ax-exempt status (and were, in fact, the only ones denied).

    April 22, 2014 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  8. carlos

    Tommy G

    Tell that to Daryl Issa

    April 22, 2014 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  9. don in albuquerque

    Tommy G

    But you think what Issa is doing is okey dokey. You think 50+ votes on ObamaCare is fine. Total hypocrite. The GOTP invented the term (and actually conservatives historically did) "witch hunt".

    April 22, 2014 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  10. Susan

    In the scheme of things, we're worrying a little too much about a traffic jam on a notoriously backed-up bridge...and spending an awful lot of money to do it. They'd have a point if they investigated previous political acts with the same gusto....say, our previous governor literally bedding the head of the union with whom the state was negotiating contracts. If he's guilty, then send him packing, but if this is nothing more than political payback, Democrat style, then Wisniewski and Weinberg better be prepared to defend their governmental waste...or open their own checkbooks.

    April 22, 2014 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  11. J Anthony

    Hey Tony, like Issa's and repubs witch hunt @IRS? Both parties do these things. Sometimes it's justified,, sometimes not. Even if Christie had nothing to do with what his people were doing, it still makes him responsible, as he hiimself has acknowledged. Take your blinders off.

    April 22, 2014 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  12. J Anthony

    I meant "@Tommy G"....mixed him up with that other ideologue Tony D- same person?

    April 22, 2014 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  13. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    @Tommy G

    Tommy, you obviously never heard of "Plausible Deniability". Information is "withheld" from leaders to "protect" them, wink, wink. Kennedy did it with the Bay of Pigs, Nixon with Watergate, Ronnie with Iran-Contra and now Tubby claims he knew nothing! People are thrown under the bus or fall on their swords, until somebody faces jail time and SINGS like Liza Minnelli!

    April 22, 2014 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  14. just me

    Tommy, then obviously you agree that all of Issas' rants are a witchhunt since Obamas' name appears on no documents. Right?

    April 23, 2014 01:18 am at 1:18 am |
  15. GOP = Greed Over People

    "Democratic with(sic) hunt"?

    Or the 24 billion the House GOP baggers lead by the defacto House Leader, Cruz, cost the U.S. Economy with their childish temper tantrum to shut down the government?

    Parties that live in class houses, should not cast stones.

    April 23, 2014 07:42 am at 7:42 am |