Paul Fishman (Carmen Natale)
Federal prosecutors investigating last fall’s closure of local access lanes to the George Washington Bridge have subpoenaed materials from the New Jersey Legislature panel probing the same.
U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman is seeking all documents that the New Jersey Select Committee on Investigation has obtained since it began its investigation earlier this year.
The committee’s co-chairs, Assemblyman John Wisniewski, D-Middlesex, and Sen. Loretta Weinberg, D-Bergen, said in a joint statement that the committee would cooperate with the government’s investigation.
“We will comply fully with the request,” the lawmakers said in their statement. “This reaffirms our progress in uncovering important information about the apparent abuse of government power and threat to public safety. Our committee will continue to cooperate with the federal authorities as we pursue the investigation.”
Both the legislative committee and the U.S. attorney are investigating the circumstances that led to the Sept. 9-13 lane closures and other possible misdeeds by Gov. Chris Christie’s administration. A federal grand jury has been convened.
The closures were orchestrated by Christie’s former deputy chief of staff, Bridget Kelly, and David Wildstein, the former director of interstate capital projects at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns and operates the bridge. They caused massive traffic delays in and around Fort Lee.
The committee has unsuccessfully sought document production from Kelly and Christie’s former campaign manager, Bill Stepien, who may have been involved in discussions about the closures after they occurred.
Kelly and Stepien are actively seeking immunity from the Legislature’s committee which, if granted, could lead to having them declared immune from any criminal prosecution.
A state court judge has upheld their right to invoke the Fifth Amendment’s privilege against self-incrimination.
The committee has, however, received tens of thousands of documents from other individuals from the Port Authority and the administration, including documents from Wildstein.
Press reports have indicated that Wildstein has met with federal prosecutors and may be seeking immunity from prosecution in exchange for his cooperation with the investigation.
Rebekah Carmichael, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, says she cannot comment on an ongoing investigation.
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