Judge Rules That Bridgegate Aides Don’t Have to Turn Over Documents

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's former Deputy Chief of Staff Bridget Anne Kelly waits in court for a hearing on March 11, 2014 in Trenton, New Jersey. Attorneys for Kelly and two-time campaign manager Bill Stepien are in court to try to persuade a judge not to force them to turn over text messages and other private communications to New Jersey legislators investigating the political payback scandal ensnaring Christie's administration.    AFP PHOTO/Mel Evans/Pool        (Photo credit should read MEL EVANS/AFP/Getty Images)
Kelly. Photo: AFP/2014 AFP

State Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobson has decided that Bridget Anne "time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee" Kelly and Chris Christie's former campaign manager Bill Stepien do not have to comply with subpoenas for documents related to last year's George Washington Bridge lane closings. The subpoenas, which came from the New Jersey legislative committee that is looking into the scandal, were deemed "exceedingly broad" by Jacobson, suggesting that the investigators did not have any specific documents in mind when they made the request. (She called it "a fishing expedition.") 

The judge also noted that forcing Kelly and Stepien to hand over the materials would violate their Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination, as the two "could face prosecution for official misconduct in either state or federal court, and the conduct that could form the basis for the prosecutions is exactly the type of conduct being investigated by the committee." The ruling is a setback for the investigative committee, which is likely to appeal it."The committee felt it was very much in the public interest to seek to compel the production of these documents, but as we've said before, there’s more than one method to gather information in an investigation, and we will consider alternatives," said committee leader Assemblyman John Wisniewski. In New Jersey, that could really mean anything.