The feds are so interested in the George Washington Bridge lane closures, they’re interviewing landlords.
Two federal investigators in February stopped by former Chris Christie campaign manager Bill Stepien’s house when he wasn’t home, and asked the landlord about Stepien’s “conduct and character.” Stepien’s attorney, Kevin Marino, made the incident public Monday as part of the legal fight over a subpoena served against Stepien by New Jersey lawmakers also investigating the closures.
Stepien and his attorney have argued that complying with the subpoena, which asks for documents related to the lane closures, would violate Stepien’s right against self-incrimination. (Despite this, Stepien maintains he is innocent of any wrongdoing.)
“In recent weeks, federal criminal investigators have made their interest in him plain, traveling to his home and importuning his landlord and presumably others to provide information about his conduct and character, their ‘FBI’ and ‘DOJ Criminal Investigator’ calling cards leaving no doubt as to their intentions,” Marino wrote Monday in a court filing fighting the subpoena. “Under the circumstances, to suggest that Mr. Stepien is not at risk of incrimination is to defy common sense.”
According to Marino, the investigators who paid a visit last month to Stepien’s Mercer County, N.J. home asked the landlord whether Stepien was married, whether he was a rowdy tenant, and whether he paid his rent on time. They left their cards with the landlord, who later turned them over to Marino.
Christie cut ties with Stepien earlier this year following the release of a first round of subpoenaed documents related to the lane closures. The governor asked Stepien to leave his role as a consultant to the Republican Governors’ Association, and to take his name out of the running for chairman of New Jersey’s Republican Party. Stepien later received the subpoena from state lawmakers, and in late January, he invoked his Fifth Amendment rights and requested that the subpoena be withdrawn.
Read the filing: