Bridgegate’s Unanswered Questions [AUDIO]
If a judge forces two key players in Bridgegate to turn over subpoenaed documents, the legislative committee investigating the scandal will get answers to very important and still unanswered questions according to the co-chair of the Select Committee on Investigation.
Gov. Chris Christie’s deputy chief of staff Bridget Kelly was fired after an email apparently sent by her went public saying “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee.” Christie cut ties with his two-time campaign manager Bill Stepien after Stepien’s involvement in the Bridgegate scandal became evident.
Lawyers for both Kelly and Stepien argued in court that turning over subpoenaed documents would violate their clients’ Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination. The judge is expected to rule soon.
As the SCI waits for the ruling, members are pouring through the documents they do have. Assemblyman John Wisniewski said Kelly’s documents could help answer a lot.
“We are trying to obtain from documents we already have, answers to some very fundamental questions,” said Wisniewski (D-Sayreville). “Why Did Bridget Kelly abuse her power by sending that email? Under what theory did she send it? Did she feel she was authorized by virtue of her job? Did she think that she was helping the governor politically? Did someone call her up and specifically give her the explicit or implicit instructions to send that email?”
Critics of Wisniewski’s committee and supporters of Christie think the SCI is on a witch hunt and they question the need for the answers the committee seeks.
“These are questions that’ll have to be answered so that committee can fulfill its task in making sure this can’t happen again,” Wisniewski said.
In September, access lanes in Fort Lee leading to the George Washington Bridge were closed without prior notice. Traffic was snarled for four days until the lanes were ordered to be reopened. Democrats feel the lanes may have been blocked to punish Fort Lee’s Democratic mayor for not endorsing Christie’s reelection.
In late March, the results of the Christie administration’s internal probe were released. The report cleared the governor of any wrongdoing.