Federal prosecutors in New Jersey have convened a grand jury to investigate the George Washington Bridge lane closures, ABC News reported on Friday.
Twenty-three grand jurors on Friday heard testimony from Michael Drewniak, press secretary to Gov. Chris Christie (R). Drewniak’s attorney, Anthony Iacullo, told ABC News his client was not a target of the investigation.
“I’m not going to get into the specifics as to what would be discussed in the grand jury,” Iacullo said. “I would say though that Mike is a witness and we have been assured that he continues to be a witness throughout these proceedings and Mike has continued to cooperate as requested by the government into this inquiry.”
In January, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New Jersey confirmed that it was looking into the lane closures, which caused a multi-day traffic jam in Fort Lee, N.J. in September. But as ABC News reports, the existence of the grand jury confirms that the matter has evolved into a criminal investigation. Last week, a legal team representing Christie’s office released a report claiming the governor had no role in the closures, and pinning blame for the plot on two former Christie allies: former Port Authority of New York and New Jersey executive David Wildstein and former Christie deputy chief of staff Bridget Kelly.
ABC News on Friday also reported that a team of state prosecutors in New Jersey are monitoring the federal case, and “are prepared to continue the investigation on the state level if the feds turn it over to them.”