NJ Bridge Probe Hands Out 18 More Subpoenas
Also, Christie no stranger to controversy
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Feb 11, 2014 11:30 AM CST
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie addresses a gathering Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014, in Keansburg, NJ.   (AP Photo/Mel Evans, File)

(Newser) – The George Washington Bridge scandal investigation is getting bigger. Yesterday saw 18 "new or amended" subpoenas, the Record reports; among investigators' questions is whether Chris Christie flew over the closures in his helicopter—and whether any of those implicated in the scandal might have joined him. The governor used the chopper four times that week, the paper notes. Subpoena recipients include the aviation officials in charge of the helicopter, as well as members of Christie's office, including the deputy who deals with constituent complaints. Port Authority officials and a failed state Supreme Court nominee were also among those subpoenaed, reports the Star Ledger, which has the full list.

Meanwhile, with former Christie aides Bridget Anne Kelly and Bill Stepien refusing to release requested documents, members of the investigative committee—which includes eight Democrats and four Republicans—are considering turning to courts for help. "We feel we’re on very solid ground" in opposing Kelly and Stepien's stances, says the committee co-chair. Some of those subpoenaed are seeking taxpayer cash to help pay legal bills, the Record notes. Meanwhile, the Washington Post delves into previous Christie controversies:

  • Christie, as a former federal prosecutor, raised Bush administration eyebrows when he agreed not to charge Bristol-Myers Squibb with securities fraud—if the drug maker backed a $5 million professorship at Christie's alma mater, Seton Hall University.
  • Indeed, Christie often made deals with corporations that avoided the courts. The deals were a way to "hold corporations accountable without punishing innocent employees who were not at fault in any corporate wrongdoing," says a rep for the governor.
  • The Justice Department was also concerned about Christie's frequent appointment of his own allies, rather than independent figures, to monitor financial cases. That helped fuel new rules on appointments.
  • As prosecutor, Christie took an oath to avoid political influence, but he was often spotted socializing with Republican power brokers.
Click for the Post's full piece, or for the Record's.