Having met Thursday to discuss the logistics of their endeavor, the New Jersey Legislatures Special Committee on Investigations has issued 20 subpoenas–17 of individuals and three of organizations–involved in last September’s closing of local lanes of the George Washington Bridge. The closures caused four-hour delays in the small New Jersey town of Fort Lee, and evidence has surfaced that the lanes were closed to enact some political vengeance, possibly on the mayor of Fort Lee, Mark Sokolich.
The committee has confirmed the twenty subpoenas, but the identities remain unclear. Committee chairman John Wisniewski, a Democratic assemblyman, has confirmed that the subpoenas are for documents only so far to CNN. Wisniewski has declined to make the names public, however, to protect those who may be innocent and are only named for their potential ability to help interpret evidence.
PolitickerNJ reported that a source has unveiled several of the names subpoenaed to appear before the panel anyway. Among them, Gov. Chris Christie’s Chief of Staff and Attorney General Kevin O’Dowd, as well as now-familiar names like former Deputy Chief of Staff Bridget Kelly and Port Authority Executive Director Patrick Foye. Foye became the center of attention after the committee’s first document dump late last week, when several thousand pages of emails revealed that Foye was incensed with the closures at the George Washington Bridge, and BridgeGate mastermind David Wildstein considered Foye a potential leak to the press regarding the situation. The antagonism towards Foye in emails from Wildstein and Christie spokesperson Michael Drewniak turned Foye into something a folk hero in the press in the aftermath of the document dump.
Drewniak, incidentally, is also on the list of individuals PolitickerNJ has identified as those subpoenaed. Drewniak garnered attention himself thanks to emails between him and Wildstein in which he profanely dismissed journalists from the Star-Ledger and other thorns-in-his-side, including Foye.
The Christie For Governor campaign is the only organization that PolitickerNJ has identified as one of the three subpoenaed, though it has thirteen of the seventeen names if all are correct.
The Star-Ledger team also has two sources confirming the major names revealed by Politicker: Kelly, O’Dowd, Drewniak, former Christie organizational head Bill Stepien, and others. David Wildstein, the former Port Authority official and Christie senior aide who planned and executed the closing of the George Washington Bridge lanes in person, pled the Fifth Amendment through almost the entirety of his testimony before the panel.
While sources have revealed the names of a number of those testifying, it is expected that the hearings will not commence in earnest until February, leaving this case hanging in the meantime while Christie attempts to let the pressure of the spotlight pass and continue to work on policy and fundraising. It will take at least one month for these subpoenas–many of them for documents and not testimony–to prove fruitful and make headlines as the information they reveal is passed on to the public.