Tussle over release of Bridgegate documents goes before N.J. judge

    A New Jersey Superior Court judge heard arguments on the refusal of former Gov. Chris Christie aides to turn over documents subpoenaed by the committee investigating the George Washington Bridge scandal.

    A New Jersey Superior Court judge in Trenton heard arguments Tuesday on the refusal of former Gov. Chris Christie aide Bridget Kelly and former campaign manager Bill Stepien to turn over documents subpoenaed by the legislative committee investigating the George Washington Bridge scandal.

    “‘Time for traffic problems in Fort Lee,”’ quoted Judge Mary Jacobsen. “It didn’t come out of thin air.”

    It seems that there would have been other communications before Kelly sent that email, Jacobsen said.

    Representing Kelly, attorney Michael Critchley argued that having to provide the subpoenaed documents would violate her Fifth Amendment rights.

    “To concede information, to say that even Bridget Kelly produced this, that she created this, that she sent this, to require us to make that type of disclosure could basically cause us to forfeit the very guarantees that the privilege was intending to protect,” he said.

    Kevin Marino, the attorney representing Stepien, also argued his client’s Fifth Amendment right not to testify before the legislative committee should also apply to emails.

    “This subpoena strikes at the heart of the constitutional right to not incriminate oneself,” Marino said.

    If the court upholds that, it would hamper the investigation into possible communications with other people about the bridge lane closures, argued Reid Schar, attorney for the legislative committee investigating the apparently politically motivated closures over four days in September.

    “This is not, has not been, and these subpoenas are not, fishing expeditions of any sort,” he said.

    Critchley said the wrangling over the documents would be resolved in a snap if the committee agreed to grant Kelly immunity.

    Jacobsen did not indicate when she’ll make a ruling in the case.

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