The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

January 24, 2014

Christie's campaign, NJ GOP face federal subpoenas

(Continued)

Traffic lanes approaching the George Washington Bridge were closed without prior notice in September, creating traffic gridlock in Fort Lee, a town at the base of the bridge. Some of Christie's aides initially said the closures were part of a traffic study, but emails and text messages turned over to legislators suggest it may have been payback for the mayor.

Four people close to Christie have been fired or resigned as the scandal has unfolded, including Christie's two-time campaign manager, Bill Stepien, and deputy chief of staff Bridget Kelly.

Kelly sent an email — "time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee" — that seemed to give the plan the go-ahead.

Stepien appeared gleeful over the traffic chaos that ensued, according to emails, sent mostly from private accounts that were subpoenaed and have since been made public.

Legal experts have told The Associated Press that charges could range from conspiracy and official misconduct to perjury or obstruction.

They said the easiest charge to bring might be conspiracy, given that documents have shown several people working together to shut down a road for apparently illegal purposes.

If the purported traffic study was produced in an attempt to conceal political retribution, the experts said, obstruction charges could be brought.

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Associated Press writers Steve Peoples in Washington and David Porter in Newark, N.J., contributed to this report.

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