One of the New Jersey lawmakers investigating the George Washington Bridge scandal said on Tuesday she thinks a cop who was at the scene of the lane closures in September will end up being subpoenaed in the matter.
State Sen. Loretta Weinberg (D) told TPM on Tuesday that she expects at least one of the three ongoing investigations into the lane closures, including possibly hers, will hand a subpoena to Port Authority police Lt. Thomas “Chip” Michaels.
Michaels became a focus of the scandal this weekend after MSNBC reported that he grew up in the same town as Gov. Chris Christie (R) and has other personal ties to him. Some Democrats in New Jersey have alleged the lanes were closed to cause a traffic jam in nearby Fort Lee, N.J. because the mayor there refused to endorse the governor’s re-election campaign.
“I’m assuming he’s going to get subpoenaed by somebody,” Weinberg said of Michaels. “You know, you take your choice, the Port Authority, the (U.S.) attorney, or we.”
Weinberg, who co-chairs a special legislative committee investigating the scandal, said lawmakers had not yet decided whether Michaels would be subpoenaed.
“I think we will make a decision as a committee, which we haven’t done, in terms of subpoenaing him,” she explained.
Documents that have become public in the scandal showed Michaels drove an official for the Port Authority, David Wildstein, near the base of the bridge in Fort Lee, N.J. during the closures. MSNBC’s report also said the documents indicated Michaels sent “periodic text messages” to Wildstein during the four days the lanes were shut. Wildstein has since resigned from the agency, which oversees the bridge, because of the scandal.
After MSNBC published its story, Port Authority Executive Director Patrick Foye ordered the agency, which oversees the bridge, to conduct an internal probe into Michaels’ actions.
The Port Authority did not return a call seeking comment on Tuesday. Christie has repeatedly denied having any knowledge of the closures
Wildstein and Christie went to high school together and Michaels grew up in the same town, Livingston, N.J. Michaels has other personal links to the governor. MSNBC reported that Michaels coached Christie’s son’s little league hockey team and that Michaels’ brother, Jeffrey Michaels, is “among the most powerful Republicans in New Jersey politics” and “has donated heavily to pro-Christie organizations.”