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Christie: Governor's Office subpoenaed by U.S. Attorney

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Governor Chris Christie gives the  Inaugural Address after being sworn in at the War Memorial in Trenton, N.J. on Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014.
Governor Chris Christie gives the Inaugural Address after being sworn in at the War Memorial in Trenton, N.J. on Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014. - (Governor's Office / Tim Larsen)

Appearing Monday night on Townsquare Media's monthly “Ask the Governor” radio program, Gov. Chris Christie confirmed that his office has received a subpoena from the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Christie said he understood the reasoning behind the subpoena and noted that his office plans to fully comply. The governor added that he didn't know when it was due.

"We are complying with that in the same way we are complying with the legislative subpoenas," Christie said.

The radio program served as the first time Christie spoke publicly on the George Washington Bridge scandal since his marathon press conference on Jan. 9 during which he fired deputy chief of staff Bridget Kelly and cut ties with former campaign manager Bill Stepien for their alleged roles in the lane closures.

Monday's program also came on the heels of accusations made late Friday by David Wildstein, a former Christie appointee at the Port Authority, that the governor had knowledge of the lane closures as they were happening and that evidence proving as much exists.

But Christie again repeatedly denied having any knowledge or involvement in the matter beforehand, adding that the answer to those questions is "unequivocally no."

"And so what the people of New Jersey need to know is two things about this, one more time," Christie said. "First, I had nothing to do with this. No knowledge, no authorization, no planning, nothing to do with this before this decision was made to close these lanes by the Port Authority. Secondly, that while I'm disappointed by what happened here, I am determined to fix it."

But while Christie has pledged his full cooperation into the federal and legislative investigations, the same cannot be said for his now former aides.

With legislative subpoenas due on Monday, Stepien's attorney announced last week that his client would not be supplying documents and invoking the Fifth Amendment. Kelly's attorney, in a letter to Reid Schar, special counsel to the legislative investigative committee (embedded below), announced the same intentions late Monday night as the radio program was taking place.

Asked about the development live on the air, Christie said Kelly's subpoena refusal didn't offer any clues to him and that it was a reasonable legal request.

"I don't think any of us should be critical of someone for exercising their constitutional rights," Christie said.

Earlier in the day, Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D-Sayreville) and state Sen. Loretta Weinberg (D-Teaneck), the two Democrats leading the legislative investigatory committee, said in a joint statement that while some subpoenaed documents had trickled in, a number of extensions were granted and thus, more documents were expected in the near future.

"The committee will announce its next step as soon as that course is decided," the statement read.

Throughout the hour-long program which also featured questions from live callers, Christie was not posed with any questions regarding recent allegations of Sandy aid tied to development deals in Hoboken, Belleville and New Brunswick.


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Andrew George

Andrew George

Andrew George covers the Statehouse from NJBIZ's Trenton bureau. Born and raised in N.J., Andrew has also spent time as a reporter in D.C., Texas and Pa. His email is andrewg@njbiz.com and he is @AndrGeorge on Twitter.

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