Government Law

Judge OKs subpoena requiring NJ gov's appointee to testify about traffic-jam scandal; he takes 5th


Corrected: In an emergency hearing Thursday, a New Jersey judge refused to block a subpoena requiring a former Port Authority appointee of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to testify before a state legislative committee investigating a traffic jam scandal.

The same morning, David Wildstein, who served as as director of interstate capital projects for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, took the fifth, reports Politico. “On the advice of counsel, I assert my right to remain silent,” he said in response to questions by Assembly Transportation Committee chairman John Wisniewski.

Wildstein is accused of playing a role in vindictively closing traffic lanes leading to the George Washington Bridge in September, as payback for a local mayor’s failure to support Christie. Wildstein had argued in the Mercer County case that Wisniewski lacked authority to issue the subpoena, according to the Associated Press and the Bergen Record.

Meanwhile, Christie apologized and said in a Thursday press conference that he had fired his deputy chief of staff. U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman announced in a written statement provided by a spokeswoman that he is investigating to see whether any laws were broken, reports Reuters.

“I am embarrassed and humiliated by the conduct of some of the people on my team,” said Christie. “I am who I am, but I am not a bully.”

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New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. L.E.MORMILE / Shutterstock.com

The Asbury Park Press and the Philadelphia Inquirer also have articles.

Christie initially denied that his office had anything to do with the traffic jam in Fort Lee, N.J. But he changed his story Wednesday, after the Record reported about emails and texts that apparently implicated his staff gloating about children delayed in getting to school on their first day of class and deriding the Fort Lee mayor. In a Wednesday statement, Christie said he had himself known nothing about the messages until then and was “misled” by a staffer about what happened. He called the messages “unacceptable” and said that “people will be held responsible for their actions.”

See also:

Bloomberg: “Christie Apologizes for Bridge Traffic After Firing Aide “

Political Ticker (CNN): “Who is David Wildstein?”

Wall Street Journal Law Blog (sub. req.): ” Feds Open Inquiry Into ‘Bridgegate,’ But What Laws are at Issue?”

Updated at 2:41 p.m. correct references to Wildstein’s job position under Christie.

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