TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Twenty new subpoenas issued in a traffic jam scandal that has shaken Republican Gov. Chris Christie's administration and threatens to undermine any presidential ambitions reach deep into his office and his re-election campaign but spare him.
Christie's chief of staff, chief counsel and top communications strategist are among those being compelled to produce emails and text messages related to an apparent political payback scheme to cause massive traffic jams last fall by closing local access lanes to the George Washington Bridge, one of the world's busiest.
Christie's two-time campaign manager and regional political director were also subpoenaed, as were three people close to Christie whom he appointed to the powerful bistate agency that oversees the bridge. Two of them have resigned because of the scandal.
The subpoenas seek text messages and emails that could shed light on the traffic jams plan. Some people who are being asked to turn over the documents by early next month could be called to testify.
Christie has apologized for the traffic jams and said they blindsided him. He has called his staff's behavior "stupid."
Christie is not a target of the investigation, said Democratic Assemblyman John Wisniewski, who is heading the probe, one of several looking at the traffic jams.
"What we're really looking at is the why," Wisniewski said. "We know who sent out the request to close those lanes. We know who received it. We don't know why it was sent. We don't know who gave that person authorization to send it. We don't know why she felt empowered to send it."
The scandal broke wide open last week with the release of documents showing that a top Christie aide, Bridget Kelly, sent an email in mid-August saying "time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee," the town at the base of the bridge. The governor's No. 2 man at the transit agency, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, replied, "got it."