Bridgegate Panel Takes Action on Old and New Subpoenas
More than a dozen new subpoenas will be issued as part of the ongoing Bridgegate investigation, a joint legislative committee announced following a hearing in Trenton on Monday.
The panel investigating the unannounced George Washington Bridge access lane closures conducted both a public session and a closed session. During the public hearing, the committee approved three motions having to do with subpoenas it has already sent out. Privately, committee members also agreed to send out more than a dozen new subpoenas.
Gov. Chris Christie’s former deputy chief of staff Bridget Kelly and Christie’s two-time campaign manager Bill Stepien have both been fired over the so-called Bridgegate scandal. Kelly wrote in an email to former Port Authority official David Wildstein, “time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee.” Christie said Kelly was fired for lying to him about her involvement. Stepien was let go because in other emails he seemed gleeful about the huge traffic jams in Fort Lee.
Both Kelly and Stepien have refused to turn over subpoenaed documents to the legislative committee.They claim doing so would overlap with the U.S. Attorney’s Office probe into the matter and infringe on their fifth amendment rights. Today, the committee approved three motions regarding Kelly and Stepien.
“The first motion was to validate, to say that the subject of inquiry was valid and was relevant to the committee’s investigation here,” said panel co-chair, Assemblyman John Wisniewski. “The second motion considered the objections that they had made on constitutional grounds and the committee rejected those. The third motion was to authorize counsel to set a date by which they have to comply and in the failure of that compliance counsel is authorized to take all appropriate legal steps to enforce those subpoenas.”
According to Wisniewski, more than a dozen new subpoenas will go out to unnamed people seeking unspecified information. He said the new round of subpoenas should be sent out tomorrow.
However, s source familiar with the legislature’s investigation tells Townsquare Media a total of 18 new subpoenas will be distributed. Four new members of Christie’s office will get subpoenas as will additional officials at the Port Authority and the custodian of record for the State Police aviation unit. The source, who requested anonymity, said the committee co-chairs want to see if Christie’s helicopter ride back to New Jersey from New York on 9/11 took him over the George Washington Bridge while the lanes closures were snarling traffic.
The following is a list of individuals expected to received subpoenas:
- Chris Christie for Governor, the governor’s re-election campaign
- Christie’s office
- Regina Egea, director of the authorities unit, governor’s office
- Nicole Crifo, senior counsel to the authorities unit, governor’s office
- Jeanne Ashmore, director of constituent relations, governor’s office
- Rosemary Iannacone, director of operations, governor’s office
- Barbara Panebianco, executive assistant to Bridge Anne Kelly, governor’s office
- Custodian of records, State Police aviation unit
- William “Pat” Schuber, commissioner at the Port Authority
- Bill Baroni, former deputy executive director at the Port Authority
- Custodian of records, Port Authority
- Steve Coleman, deputy director of media relations, Port Authority
- Phillip Kwon, deputy general counsel, Port Authority
- John Ma, chief of staff to Executive Director Patrick Foye, Port Authority
- Matthew Bell, special assistant to former Deputy Executive Director Bill Baroni, Port Authority
- Gretchen DiMarco, assistant to Baroni, Port Authority
- Arielle Schwarz, special assistant to former Director of Interstate Capital Projects David Wildstein, Port Authority
- Mark Muriello, assistant director of Tunnels, Bridges & Terminals, Port Authority