A New Jersey judge ruled today that Bridget Anne Kelly and Bill Stepien do not have to comply with legislative subpoenas demanding documents.
The Star-Ledger reports that state Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobson issued a 98-page ruling this afternoon that concluded that in the process of choosing which documents to hand over Kelly and Stepien could incriminate themselves. Under U.S. law citizens are protected under the Fifth Amendment from self-incrimination.
The decision could have the effect of stripping the New Jersey Legislative Select Committee on Investigation of its power to compel cooperation from witnesses.
The legislative committee, for instance, told attorneys for Governor Christie to hand over documents used to create an internal investigation that cleared the governor of any wrongdoing. The committee said if the documents were not produced voluntarily by Friday they would be subject to a forthcoming subpoena. But today’s ruling puts in doubt whether such a subpoena would be backed by a court.