More subpoenas to come in N.J. bridge probe

TRENTON, N.J. — More subpoenas are expected to be issued by a New Jersey legislative committee investigating a plot by aides to Gov. Chris Christie to create gridlock by blocking traffic lanes near the George Washington Bridge.

A person familiar with the committee’s plans told The Associated Press that up to a dozen subpoenas could be issued after the panel meets Monday. The person spoke on condition of anonymity so as not to disclose pending actions of the panel before the meeting.

Any action by the panel would follow last week’s deadline for 20 people and organizations close to Christie to return subpoenaed documents. All but a few have sought more time. Two key figures are fighting to have the subpoenas withdrawn.

None of the subpoenaed documents has been released so far.

The committee is scheduled to discuss who else to subpoena for documents, as well as options for enforcing the subpoenas to former Christie campaign manager Bill Stepien and fired Deputy Chief of Staff Bridget Kelly. Both have said through their lawyers that they will not turn over correspondence to the panel.

The committee of eight Democrats and four Republicans is seeking to unravel how high up Christie’s chain of command the order to shut traffic lanes went, whether the operation was meant to punish a Democratic adversary and — if so — why.

The U.S. attorney’s office is also investigating to determine whether any laws were broken in the scandal that has clouded the start of the second term for the Republican, a possible 2016 presidential contender.

The traffic jams happened on four mornings in September, when the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which runs the bridge, blocked two of the three approach lanes from the town of Fort Lee. The resulting backups delayed emergency vehicles, school buses and commuters, sometimes for hours.

Five people close to Christie have lost their jobs, including the governor’s top two Port Authority appointees, Bill Baroni and David Wildstein. Wildstein appears to have overseen the lane closings.

As the troubles for Christie’s administration deepened, other allegations have attracted the attention of federal authorities.

Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer said two Christie cabinet members told her the city’s federal storm recovery aid would be tied to whether she supported a redevelopment project the governor favored. The city on the Hudson River sustained heavy damage from Superstorm Sandy.

Christie’s office denies the accusations.

Officials in Hoboken said they will not grant interviews to a lawyer for Christie or turn over documents regarding the mayor’s claim.

Randy Mastro requested all the documents that Hoboken officials have provided to the U.S. attorney’s office in the case. But Zimmer’s lawyer questioned whether it’s appropriate for the governor’s office “to be investigating itself.”

The Record newspaper first reported the request and the response.

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