The New Jersey lawmakers investigating the George Washington Bridge lane closures have been trying for weeks to get documents from a pair of former aides to Gov. Chris Christie (R). Now they’re going to court to try to force the issue.
In documents filed Wednesday in state court, the New Jersey legislative committee investigating the scandal asked a judge to order both Bill Stepien, Christie’s former campaign manager, and Bridget Kelly, Christie’s former deputy chief of staff, to comply with the subpoenas for documents they received last month.
Both Stepien and Kelly have invoked their Fifth Amendment rights in response to the subpoenas, and both have refused to produce any documents. Stepien and Kelly’s lawyers have further argued that the subpoenas violate their clients’ constitutional rights. The committee and its lawyers disagree.
“[T]he Committee’s subpoena requests are wholly lawful and constitutional,” separate court documents filed against Stepien and Kelly state. “Accordingly, this Court should order [the defendants] to fully comply with the subpoena.”
Both Stepien and Kelly lost their jobs following the release last month of a first round of documents subpoenaed as part of the investigation into the lane closures. The documents showed Kelly sending a now-infamous email (“Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee”) to the former Port Authority executive who orchestrated the lane closures. Another document showed Kelly calling the mayor of Fort Lee, N.J. an “idiot” in an email sent a few days after the lane closures. Christie subsequently fired Kelly, and he 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.