Why did NY US Atty all of a sudden open Samson investigation last Friday? What prompted it? Was it NYT editorial demanding Samson ouster?
— Matt Katz (@mattkatz00) March 11, 2014
Yesterday was an interesting day in the ongoing Bridgegate scandal. The US Attorney of New York was reported to have dropped subpoenas on Port Authority Chairman and key Governor Chris Christie ally David Samson. Later, it was reported these subpoenas had been withdrawn. In fact, more than withdrawn as it appears federal prosecutors in New York have ceded control of the investigation to the US Attorney in New Jersey.
The entire sequence events left people, including reporters, scratching their heads. Paralleling the confusion was suspicion cast on a US Attorney’s office in New Jersey that is filled with Christie recruits. No allegations have been made but the back and forth between New York and New Jersey federal prosecutors concerning a New York and New Jersey authority is not confidence inspiring.
Meanwhile Bridget Kelly of “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee” fame heads to court today to see if her invocation of Fifth Amendment protections against subpoenas from the New Jersey State Legislature will stand. Bill Stepien is involved in the case but will not attend the proceedings.
The hearing, scheduled before state Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobson in Trenton, is pivotal because Bridget Anne Kelly and Bill Stepien might hold evidence critical to understanding who orchestrated the September closings.
A ruling in favor of the former advisers would be a major setback to the legislative investigation.
Both Stepien and Kelly have claimed Fifth Amendment protections due to also being under federal investigation by the US Attorney in New Jersey. They claim to fear any evidence or testimony they would give to the New Jersey Legislature’s Special Investigate Committee could incriminate them.
If Kelly and Stepien lose the case we may get a lot closer to understanding what actually caused the traffic jam in Fort Lee.
Update: After about three hours of arguments from both sides, the judge did not issue a decision and did not give a timeline for when she might.