The week that began with a newspaper that endorsed Chris Christie now calling him a “creep” is only getting worse for the embattled Governor. The New Jersey Legislature has issued 18 more “BridgeGate” subpoenas and is looking into whether Christie personally flew over the George Washington Bridge on his helicopter the week of the closings.
According to the New York Daily News, 18 new individuals and entities will be called forth to the hearings set for later this month on the scandal that has very likely decimated Governor Christie’s presidential prospects. Among them are a number of Port Authority officials, including a chief of staff to Executive Director Patrick Foye. Foye, who emerged as something of a hero in the first batch of email correspondence released by the legislature, wrote a scathing private letter to Wildstein and others who conducted the so-called “traffic study” on the George Washington Bridge. He subsequently became the target of much animosity from both Wildstein and Michael Drewniak, a Christie spokesman. The Port Authority custodian of records is also expected to have to hand over documents.
One of the more interesting subpoena requests, however, went to the State Police aviation unit’s custodian of records. The legislature is interested in looking at files to see where Christie’s official state helicopter flew during the week of the bridge lane closings. Christie was in New York City that week to attend a 9/11 anniversary event. Photos have since surfaced of Christie and David Wildstein conversing while the traffic jam was ongoing. He then took the helicopter back the Trenton. The committee wants to investigate records to see if, during the travel time, Christie’s helicopter flew over Fort Lee, where the traffic would have been obvious to the Governor long before he claims he first heard of it.
The committee responsible for investigating the George Washington Bridge lane closures last year that caused four-hour delays in suburban Fort Lee, New Jersey had already issued twenty subpoenas to various parties potentially involved–from a number of high-ranking officials in Christie’s office to the Christie for Governor campaign to various disgraced characters like Bridget Kelly and David Wildstein.
Kelly, who sent the now-infamous “time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee” email, has refused to submit any documents or testify, citing her Fifth Amendment rights. So has the man who received that email, former Port Authority official David Wildstein, who was personally on hand that week to ensure the bridge was shut down. Wildstein has offered to talk in exchange for prosecutorial immunity, and his lawyer alleged in a letter made public through The New York Times that “evidence exists” linking Christie to knowledge of the closures.
In addition to issuing the relevant subpoenas, the committee moved to compel Kelly and Christie campaign manager Bill Stepien to divulge the documents demanded of them. While all Republicans on the panel abstained, Democrats noted that they did not see a viable Fifth Amendment argument to absolve both of them of their responsibilities to the committee.