GOP Leader: Bridgegate Probe Should Stop [AUDIO]
On Wednesday, a judge ruled that two key figures in Bridgegate do not have to comply with subpoenas issued by the legislative committee investigating the scandal. The top Republican in the Assembly said it is time for the legislature to step aside and let federal prosecutors take over.
“There seems to be a bent towards making sure that we continue to investigate the Christie administration,” said Assembly GOP Leader Jon Bramnick (R-Westfield). “That’s fine, but that’s not what we’re hired to do. That’s what the prosecutors are supposed to be doing, so let’s get back to what we’re supposed to do and save money for taxpayers in New Jersey.”
In September, access lanes to the George Washington Bridge in Fort Lee were closed without prior notice, snarling traffic for four days. Some Democrats believe this was done to punish Fort Lee’s Democratic mayor for refusing to endorse Gov. Chris Christie‘s re-election bid.
Claiming that turning over subpoenaed documents to the Select Committee on Investigation would violate their Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination, fired Christie aides Bridget Kelly and Bill Stepien resisted cooperating with the subpoenas.
Wednesday, a judge agreed with Kelly and Stepien.
The SCI co-chair, Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D-Sayreville), said the panel is mulling its options. Those include an appeal, a redraft of the subpoenas, or taking testimony from individuals who have already submitted documents. According to Judge Mary Jacobson’s ruling, the SCI could also offer immunity to Kelly and Stepien that would protect them from federal prosecution.
Bramnick, who is a lawyer, said defense attorneys wouldn’t allow their clients to testify unless they also received an ironclad guarantee from federal prosecutors that immunity does apply.
The decision from the judge is sound, Bramnick said, and therefore he believes an appeal is unlikely.
“At this point in time, to spend more money on politics versus policy doesn’t make any sense to me,” Bramnick said. “At some point in the future when the other investigations are completed, if there’s more work to do, do it.”