TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – An investigation into the George Washington Bridge lane closure scandal has ramped up.
As CBS 2’s Christine Sloan reported, some key members of Gov. Chris Christie’s administration are among 20 people and organizations receiving subpoenas to tell what they know of the controversial closure.
Key Christie Administration Officials Among Those Subpoenaed In GWB Lane Closure Investigation
Officials confirmed subpoenas were issued to the following people and organizations:
• Charles McKenna, chief counsel to the governor;
• Regina Egea, the governor’s incoming deputy chief of staff;
• Michael Drewniak, the governor’s spokesman;
• Christina Genovese, aide to the governor;
• Maria Comella, deputy chief of staff for communications for the governor;
• Evan Ridley of the governor’s office;
• Colin Reed, deputy communications director for Christie;
• Kevin O’Dowd, Christie’s chief of staff who was nominated for attorney general;
• The Office of the Governor as an organization;
• David Wildstein, former director of special projects at the Port Authority;
• William Stepien, Christie campaign manager and former deputy chief of staff;
• William Baroni, former Port Authority deputy director;
• Bridget Anne Kelly, former deputy chief of staff to the governor;
• David Samson, Port Authority chairman;
• Nicole Davidman, fundraiser for Christie’s campaign and wife of Drewniak;
• Philippe Danielides, senior adviser to the Port Authority chairman;
• Christine Lado of the Port Authority;
• Christie for Governor Inc. as an organization;
• Paul Nunziato of the Port Authority;
• Matt Mowers chairman of the New Hampshire Republican Party and a former Christie aide.
“It is everybody on his staff that is what is amazing about this,” said Patrick Murray of Monmouth University.
The subpoena subjects will likely all have to hire their own attorneys, and in the next 10 days, fork over documents to the State Assembly Investigative Committee.
“This makes it tough for the governor that his own people are not worried about him one hundred percent now they are worried about themselves for some extent,” Murray said.
Some other anticipated subpoena subjects included Port Authority board member Pat Schuber and executive director Pat Foye.
Foye has said he wasn’t told of the lane closures and had them reopened.
“I went to the Port Authority and I asked them about it and they have ignored me for four months. So I’m standing here today with the support of our senate president for following through on what I originally asked for: subpoena power,” State Sen. Loretta Weinberg said.
She heads the senate investigative committee and was the first to question the approach lane closures. Local officials were initially told the four-day closure in September was for a traffic study, but one probe into the documents found no proof of a traffic study.
Several motives have been thrown out for the gridlock-causing lane closures, including whether it was retaliation against the mayor of Fort Lee for not endorsing Christie for re-election or if a billion-dollar development at the foot of the bridge had anything to do with it, Sloan reported.
The scandal blew up when documents revealed text and email exchanges between a top Christie aide and his appointees at the Port Authority.
Wildstein and Baroni both resigned from the Port Authority amid the scandal.
“Of all the people involved in this, Wildstein is only one that is not a Christie loyalist,” Murray said. “That is why he is the weakest link and he is seeking immunity.”
Christie has brought in former federal prosecutor to conduct an inquiry.
“When you have a governor who is more popular and is leading in the polls over Hillary Clinton, you have to think in some that he would not have gotten this much attention but for his success as a national leader and a national figure,” Republican Assembly Minority Leader John Bramnick said.
Subpoenas do not mean any of those called to testify did anything wrong.
Many of the names have already appeared in previous emails handed over by Wildstein, who refused to testify by invoking his fifth amendment right against self-incrimination.
The motive for the lane closures remained unknown as of Friday. Assemblyman John Wisniewski, who is heading the panel investigating the closures, has been trying to determine whether the closures were political retaliation for Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich not endorsing Christie, or if it had something to do with a $1 billion development at the foot of the bridge – right where the lanes merge.
Republicans have argued that two inquiries by the senate and assembly are costly to taxpayers.
Sources said the assembly committee investigation could take up to a year. A state senate committee and the U.S. Attorney’s office are also investigating.
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