Two more top officials from the Christie administration likely will be subpoenaed on Thursday as top state Assembly Democrats announced that a special investigatory committee will be formed to probe the George Washington Bridge scandal.
Gov. Chris Christie's fired deputy chief of staff and his two-time campaign manager are the most likely to be issued subpoenas to deliver documents and possibly appear before the new investigative committee, said Assemblyman John Wisniewski, D-Middlesex.
Wisniewski, Assembly Speaker-elect Vincent Prieto and Democratic Majority Leader Lou Greenwald announced the creation of the new committee at an afternoon conference Monday in Trenton. Wisniewski will head the new committee when it is seated after the start of the new legislative session on Tuesday.
The committee will employ a special outside council and will be charged with pursuing leads in the so-called "Bridgegate" scandal dogging the Christie administration.
“This investigation, through emails, has grown into a much larger investigation that has led us to the governor’s office,” Wisniewski said.
The trio said the committee would be bipartisan but said they did not know make up or ratio yet. The special council could be appointed by Wednesday and Bridget Anne Kelley, Christie’s recently fired deputy chief of staff, and two-time campaign manager Bill Stepien could be the “two most likely’’ to be subpoenaed on Thursday, Wisniewski said.
The committee will be charged with following leads to possible corruption stemming from the September lane closures at the George Washington Bridge that gridlocked traffic for four days - a scheme that seems to have been ordered by Kelly as retribution for an endorsement snub from the Fort Lee mayor.
Wisniewski said the probe may assist lawmakers in overhauling the Port Authority to prevent any abuse of power in the future.
“It’s not sufficient that four people have left their jobs in the Port Authority administration,’’ Wisniewski said. “The Port Authority and other agencies are going to need a drastic overhaul.’’
Prieto, Wisnewski and Greenwald each said it is too early to begin compiling a list of those who could be called before the committee.
After the conference, Greenwald said that Christie should be taken at his word that he had nothing to do with the lane closures.
“I think you have to take this one step at a time and see where this goes,’’ Greenwald said. “Take the governor at his word that he had no involvement in this and I think that’s the best way to approach it.’’