Bridgegate Panel Sets Deadline for Christie Lawyers [AUDIO]
The law firm that conducted the Christie administration’s internal investigation into Bridgegate has been given until Friday to turn over all documents related to its probe.
In its report clearing Gov. Chris Christie of wrongdoing, Gibson Dunn said it interviewed 70 people before coming to that conclusion. The Select Committee on Investigation wants all the materials having to do with those interviews by the end of the week.
“We’ve instructed our counsel to seek them out from either Gibson Dunn or the governor’s office,” said SCI co-chair, Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D-Sayreville). “We also gave a firm deadline, after which we will avail ourselves of the methods that we have assigned to us by the resolution to compel production.”
As per the resolution that established the SCI, the key “method” the committee has is subpoena power. Wisniewski said if the committee doesn’t get what it is seeking by Friday, a subpoena could be issued to Gibson Dunn or the governor’s office.
“The ultimate tool the committee has is the subpoena authority, which will compel the production of documents,” Wisniewski said. “We were willing to wait a moderate period of time for cooperation, but after that we do have at our disposal the ability to compel document production.”
A Friday deadline might seem like a very short amount of time, but Wisniewski said the committee has been in discussions with Gibson Dunn and the firm has indicated a desire to cooperate.
The SCI continues to wait for a judge to rule if two central Bridgegate figures must turn over subpoenaed documents. Bridget Kelly and Bill Stepien are fighting the subpoenas because they feel handing over documents could violate their Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination. A judge’s decision could come any day.
Kelly was fired as Christie’s deputy chief of staff after the governor learned of Kelly’s now-infamous “time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee” email. Christie cut ties with Stepien, his two-time campaign manager, after Stepien’s involvement in the scandal became known.
In September, access lanes to the George Washington Bridge in Fort Lee were closed without advance warning, which jammed up traffic for hours. Democrats feel the lanes might have been ordered closed as political payback to the town’s Democratic mayor, for refusing to endorse Christie’s re-election.