TRENTON, N.J. (CBS/AP) — Eight people who work for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie have been served subpoenas in the widening traffic scandal investigation threatening to undermine his administration.
The New Jersey Assembly confirms that subpoenas were served to Christie’s chief of staff, chief counsel, communications director and other aides. The staffers, and the Governor’s official records office and his re-election committee, have until February 3rd to comply.
On Friday, Gov. Christie didn’t pause for even a second to answer questions. He gave remarks at the swearing-in ceremony of Associate Justice to the New Jersey Supreme Court, Faustino Fernandez-Vino.
“He understands [that] while his obligations are large, that his position in society is first and foremost as a citizen who must live under the laws,” Gov. Christie said.
Going beyond their entrusted power is what’s landed some of Christie’s former staff and appointees in hot water for the George Washington Bridge scandal. Now, the governor must operate with some of his current staff under subpoena.
“It’s just not a political prank that went wrong; government power was misused for political benefit, and that’s what’s at the heart of this,” says Dan Douglas, the director of Stockton College’s Public Policy Center.
He says the governor is in for a long ride with two legislative committees as well as the U.S. Attorney’s office investigating his office. Douglas also says it would be in the governor’s best interest to cooperate with lawmakers rather than exercise his executive privacy privileges.
But Senate President Steve Sweeney says he expects Christie to uphold his vow to get to the bottom of the scandal.
“The Governor was a former U.S. Attorney. He understands the importance of cooperation in an investigation, and I have no reason not to expect him to do that,” Sweeney says.
Assemblyman John Wisniewski says 20 subpoenas were issued Thursday, though not all have reached the recipients.
The list includes: Charles McKenna, Regina Egea, Michael Drewniak, Christina Genovese, Maria Comella, Evan Ridley, Colin Reed, Kevin O’Dowd, Office of the Governor, David Wildstein, William Stepien, William Baroni, Bridget Anne Kelly, David Samson, Nicolle Davidman, Philippe Danielides, Cristina Lado, Christie for Governor, Inc, Paul Nunziato, and Matt Mowers.
The subpoenas seek documents that could shed light on who was behind a plot to create massive traffic jams and whether it was done to settle a political score.
Some people turning over text messages and emails could be called to testify later.
The scandal threatens to upend Christie’s second term and derail any presidential ambitions.
Four members of his circle have lost their jobs.
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