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N.J. Panel to Consider 12 New Subpoenas in Bridge Probe

The New Jersey legislative committee probing intentional lane closings at the George Washington Bridge may issue as many as a dozen more subpoenas, said a person with knowledge of the investigation.

The new records requests will be discussed today during a 2 p.m. meeting at the Statehouse annex in Trenton, according to the person, who requested anonymity without authorization to speak publicly on the matter.

The panel last month issued 20 subpoenas ordering Governor Chris Christie’s office and re-election campaign and 18 people to turn over e-mails, texts and other documents related to the September lane closings that backed up miles of road for four days in the town run by a mayor who didn’t endorse Christie in November. The governor, 51, a Republican, has said he had no knowledge of the act, which threatens his political ambitions.

Committee members are investigating whether the closings were ordered as political retribution against the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee, a New Jersey town of 35,700 at the base of the bridge.

Two former Christie aides, deputy chief of staff Bridget Anne Kelly and former campaign manager Bill Stepien, have said they won’t comply with the January subpoenas. Christie cut ties to Stepien and fired Kelly. who sent an Aug. 13 e-mail to David Wildstein, a Christie ally at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, that said: “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee.” Wildstein, who ordered the closings, replied: “Got it.”

The political controversy has weighed on voter support for Christie in New Jersey as well as across the nation.

Christie’s job approval rating fell to 48 percent since the bridge controversy, the lowest since May 2011, according to a Jan. 28 survey by Fairleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMind institute. The rating was 62 percent in October.

In December, Christie stood statistically even with Hillary Clinton, the Democrat most likely to lead her party in 2016, in potential matchups tested in polls. In an NBC/Marist poll last month, Clinton led Christie by 13 points.

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