Ex-Christie aide fights document release

Bridget Anne Kelly: "Traffic problems in front of his house . . .?"
Bridget Anne Kelly: "Traffic problems in front of his house . . .?"
Posted: March 09, 2014

The former aide to Gov. Christie whose e-mail about "traffic problems in Fort Lee" is at the center of the George Washington Bridge controversy says a federal investigator tried to speak with her family the day after Christie announced her firing, according to a new court filing.

Bridget Anne Kelly, the governor's former deputy chief of staff, disclosed information about the investigator's attempts in a filing Thursday with Superior Court in Trenton that lays out her legal argument for continuing to object to a legislative subpoena regarding the September lane closures at the bridge.

Oral arguments are scheduled for Tuesday on Kelly's objection, as well as a similar case made by former Christie campaign adviser Bill Stepien, who also has declined to comply with a subpoena from lawmakers. Both Kelly and Stepien have invoked their Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination and Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable searches and seizures.

In the filing, submitted by lawyer Michael Critchley, Kelly said an investigator with the U.S. Attorney's Office had tried to contact her, as well as her parents, ex-husband, and in-laws "on or about" Jan. 10. Her family refused to speak with the investigator, according to the filing.

The filing did not indicate whether Kelly had received a subpoena from the U.S. Attorney's Office. Stepien's filing Monday likewise did not say whether he had received a subpoena from prosecutors.

Kelly says the production of any document would "communicate a statement of fact" that its contents were related to the lane closures.

"The subpoena effectively compels Ms. Kelly to not just point out where all the dots are, but to connect them as well," the filing says.

The legislative committee also filed a court brief Friday, rejecting Stepien's justification for refusing to comply with its subpoena by saying he could not invoke the Fifth Amendment privilege in "blanket fashion."

"Rather, Mr. Stepien is required to show this court on a request-by-request and document-by-document basis why his invocation of the privilege is valid," the committee said.

Stepien says both the FBI and Justice Department have tried contacting him, indicating that he is a possible target of a federal investigation. As such, Stepien says, compliance with the legislative subpoena would be self-incriminating.


aseidman@phillynews.com

856-779-3846

@AndrewSeidman

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