FBI contacts figure in Christie scandal
March 3rd, 2014
09:03 PM ET
9 years ago

FBI contacts figure in Christie scandal

(CNN) - Court papers show the FBI has contacted Chris Christie's former campaign manager as part of a federal probe of a traffic scandal that has upended the New Jersey governor's administration.

Bill Stepien, in arguing why he cannot comply with a subpoena issued by a state legislative committee also investigating the scandal, said federal agents have visited his home and questioned people who know him, according to court papers.

"In recent weeks, federal criminal investigators have made their interest in him plain, traveling to his home and importuning his landlord and presumably others to provide information about his conduct and character," Stepien's lawyer, Kevin Marino, said.

Specifically, the court documents claimed that an agent called Stepien on his cell phone in January, and most recently questioned his landlord.

The FBI asked "if he was married, was a rowdy tenant, did he pay his rent on time," according to the papers.

It's the first indication that federal investigators have actually been on the ground as part of its probe of the Christie administration.

Stepien managed both Christie gubernatorial campaigns, but Christie asked him to leave his political organization in January after his name surfaced in emails around the scandal involving abrupt traffic lane closures near the George Washington Bridge in Fort Lee last September.

Both federal and legislative investigators are probing suggestions that top Christie appointees orchestrated the lane closures as part of a political scheme to punish the mayor of Fort Lee for not endorsing Christie for reelection.

Stepien has not been accused of any wrongdoing and Christie denies knowing about the traffic gridlock over a work week until after it happened.

Christie, a Republican viewed as a possible presidential candidate in 2016, also has said repeatedly he knew nothing about any related political mischief by people working on behalf of the state.

Stepien cannot answer the state legislative subpoena because doing so would violate his right against self-incrimination, Marino argued in the court filing.

“Mr. Stepien is undeniably a subject, if not a target, of both, meaning the committee investigation and U.S. attorney probe, Marino said.

The U.S. Attorney's office in Newark had no comment on the Stepien matter.

An attorney for Bridget Anne Kelley, a top Christie appointee fired over the scandal and fighting a legislative subpoena, said he plans to file court papers on Thursday.

Filed under: Chris Christie • New Jersey
soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. The Republican Party Is Dead To Me

    These creeps have wasted a lot of money, trying to exonerate themselves from a situation they created. And they are supposed to be conservatives?

    March 3, 2014 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  2. Smitty

    Why isn't the FBI asking questions to Lois Lerner and the IRS law breakers ????

    March 3, 2014 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  3. Vence

    He'll get away with terrorism!

    March 3, 2014 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  4. YUCK

    It's plain and simple,politicians will lie through their teeths all to keep their positions in office.

    March 3, 2014 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  5. Name

    Get the GOP out of business as these guys are mobsters and gangsters!!!

    March 4, 2014 12:08 am at 12:08 am |
  6. Anonymous

    More Democratic nonsense !!

    March 4, 2014 02:24 am at 2:24 am |
  7. salty dog

    Nah, he's not guilty, and if he had any brains he's scared as he.ll . The gop has the entire election on the line here, this goes to the wall. Nothing but taking the fifth, but the rwnj won't be able to accept that means their very likely guilty. Their inability to see their hypocracy makes me loose hope, they don't want to see the truth. The truth is often inconvenient.

    March 4, 2014 06:44 am at 6:44 am |
  8. salty dog

    The Republicans sure do take the fifth alot.

    March 4, 2014 07:02 am at 7:02 am |
  9. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Where's Our $24 Billion?

    “Mr. Stepien is undeniably a subject, if not a target, of both, meaning the committee investigation and U.S. attorney probe, Marino said."
    Now the Feds are involved. Looks like someone is going to jail. Who's gonna rat first? If Bridget Ann Kelley was smart, she'd be trying to get a plea deal. Apparently she's not smart and is stupid like Christie said she was.

    March 4, 2014 08:17 am at 8:17 am |
  10. The Real Tom Paine

    Interesting that they are asking character questions: building a profile of a typical Christie staffer, perhaps? This ought to be an interesting exercise, to say the least.

    March 4, 2014 08:52 am at 8:52 am |