A New Jersey legislative panel investigating the lane closures on the George Washington Bridge orchestrated by aides of Gov. Chris Christie (R) as an act of political retribution are moving to obtain text messages that Democrats believe could uncover further details of the extent of Christie’s knowledge of the closures.
But the legislative panel is subpoenaing AT&T for records of all calls and texts during the month of December between Christie and Regina Egea. Egea was the governor’s liaison to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which controls the bridge.
Egea told the panel last month that she had texted Christie following a hearing in December at which Port Authority workers refuted what was then the official explanation for the closures, to conduct a traffic study.
They also revealed they were told by a Port Authority official appointed by Christie not to alert Fort Lee officials to the closures in advance.
That text, however, was not turned over to the legislative panel investigating the closures. Egea said at last month’s hearing she deleted it — an unusual move, as New Jersey law requires officials to maintain records of such communications.
Egea’s admission prompted concerns from the panel that other communications relevant to their investigation of the closure may have been deleted, and they believe the subpoena will help them find out.
Democratic assemblyman John S. Wisniewski, the co-chairman of the panel investigating the closures, called the deletion “curious.”
“It’s a curious occurrence where two high-profile figures simultaneously delete the same text message. It could be nothing, but it seems curious because a whole lot of other things weren’t deleted,” he said.
The panel has not yet turned up any evidence Christie had any involvement in the closures, but the controversy surrounding the situation damaged both Christie’s standing within the Republican Party, and his presidential prospects.
Still, many of his supporters have stood by him, and believe if he choses to run in 2016, he’ll be far enough removed from the scandal to be a formidable force for the party.