Bridge inquiry panel summons another top Christie aide

Posted: July 02, 2014

TRENTON - The legislative committee investigating the George Washington Bridge controversy has subpoenaed another aide to Gov. Christie to testify next week.

Regina Egea, Christie's incoming chief of staff, was issued a subpoena Monday, with a hearing scheduled for next Tuesday, said Assemblyman John S. Wisniewski (D., Middlesex), cochair of the committee.

The committee has reserved three additional meeting dates in July and "will probably issue subpoenas" for those dates, Wisniewski said. He did not identify whom the panel might subpoena.

He said a list of 13 names of Christie aides and officials from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, first reported last week by the Bergen Record, "was an internal working list" that did not mean all 13 would be called to testify.

The panel last met several weeks ago to take testimony from Christie's current chief of staff and pick for attorney general, Kevin O'Dowd.

Egea, director of the state's authorities unit, received an e-mail the week of the September lane closures that showed the executive director of the Port Authority, Pat Foye, describing the closures as abusive and possibly illegal.

Egea, who was forwarded Foye's e-mail by the Port Authority's former deputy executive director, Bill Baroni, told lawyers for Christie in an interview that she spoke with Baroni about the e-mail, and he said the agency had been doing a traffic study, according to a summary of the interview produced by the lawyers.

Baroni, a Christie appointee, told Egea that Foye - an appointee of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo - was interfering, according to Egea's interview summary.

According to the summary, Egea also revised a draft of Baroni's testimony before lawmakers in November, when Baroni said the lane closures were part of a traffic study.

Since then, e-mails that have been disclosed that suggest a politically motivated scheme to snarl traffic in Fort Lee - including an e-mail released in January from now-fired Christie aide Bridget Anne Kelly to former Port Authority official David Wildstein that read, "Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee."

Wildstein and Baroni resigned from the Port Authority in December. Christie, who fired Kelly following the disclosure of the "traffic problems" e-mail, has maintained he played no role in the lane closures, and testimony before the legislative committee has not directly linked him to them.

Wisniewski said Monday that the panel had not concluded its work. Of the "traffic problems" e-mail, he said, "Somebody either instructed Bridget Kelly to send that, or led her to believe it was OK for her to send that."

While the panel's work has "taken longer than we would have liked," he said, "I think there is more territory behind us than ahead of us."

Federal prosecutors also have been probing the lane closures. Wisniewski said the panel had not received further requests from the U.S. Attorney's Office to delay testimony, as the office requested when Foye was initially scheduled to appear in early June.

Christie in December named Egea to succeed O'Dowd as chief of staff, and said he would nominate O'Dowd as the next attorney general. A confirmation hearing in the Senate for O'Dowd has not been held.



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