Christie Faces Deadline to Yield Bridge Report Documents

Governor Chris Christie’s administration faces a deadline to give a New Jersey legislative panel documents used by his lawyers to produce a report they said cleared him in the George Washington Bridge scandal.

The governor’s office or its representative, the law firm of Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP, will be subpoenaed if they don’t produce memos, transcripts and any other material referred to in a 344-page internal review by April 11, Assemblyman John Wisniewski told reporters in Trenton yesterday.

The report concluded that Christie, a 51-year-old Republican, had no knowledge that bridge approach lanes were deliberately closed, tying up traffic for days in Fort Lee, New Jersey. The Select Committee on Investigation wants to review the “underpinnings” of the assertion, said Wisniewski, a Democrat and the panel’s co-chairman.

“They’ve indicated a desire to work with our counsel on turning over the documents,” Wisniewski said of Christie’s lawyers, though they “haven’t said when or how or how much.”

Randy Mastro, a partner in the law firm’s New York City office, said the two sides have been in touch “to discuss sharing voluntarily the interview memoranda regarding the lane realignment upon which our report was partially based.”

“In light of the committee’s statements this afternoon, we will look forward to continuing that cooperative dialogue,” he said in a statement.

Political Payback

The tie-ups were intended to punish the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee for unspecified “ulterior motives,” Gibson Dunn said. The mayor, Mark Sokolich, has said he believes it was political payback for not endorsing Christie’s re-election.

The March 27 report placed responsibility for the traffic jams on Bridget Anne Kelly, a deputy chief of staff for Christie at the time, and David Wildstein, then director of interstate capital projects for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates the bridge. Kelly was later fired and Wildstein resigned.

Wisniewski said the panel will press on with its review, even as U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman, the highest-ranking federal prosecutor in New Jersey, leads a grand jury inquiry. Wisniewski called the Gibson Dunn report deficient.

“We still don’t know who the culprit is,” he said yesterday at a meeting of the investigatory committee,

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