FORT LEE, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Two key figures in a political payback scandal ensnaring New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s administration are refusing, for a second time, to turn over documents to investigators.
Lawyers for former Christie campaign manager Bill Stepien and fired aide Bridget Kelly say in letters to lawmakers that their clients will not cooperate.
Legislators investigating the blocking of traffic lanes near the heavily traveled George Washington Bridge had given the pair until Tuesday to turn over documents after they both originally refused to do so.
Christie has denied knowledge of any plot.
A copy of the letter by Stepien lawyer Kevin Marino was obtained by The Associated Press. The Record newspaper reports that a letter refusing to turn over documents was also sent by Kelly lawyer Michael Critchley.
Meanwhile, Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich refused a request to be interviewed by a lawyer representing Christie.
Documents show that Kelly gave the go-ahead to shut down lanes to the George Washington Bridge in Fort Lee, creating four days of traffic gridlock, possibly as a political vendetta against Sokolich for not endorsing Christie for re-election.
Sokolich also was asked to provide documents. The Bergen County Record reported that Sokolich sent a letter back to attorney Randy Mastro on Monday declining the request.
Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer declined a similar request last week. She has claimed the Christie administration tried to strong-arm her into supporting a real estate development by threatening to withhold superstorm Sandy funds.
The letter by Christie’s lawyer also asked Zimmer for documents and an interview “to further our mandate from the governor’s office to facilitate cooperation with the U.S. attorney’s investigation and complete an internal review.”
In denying the request, Zimmer wrote, “We question whether it is appropriate for the governor’s office in essence to be investigating itself.”
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