Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Bridge-Closure Panel Adds 13 to Inquiry List

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Bridge-Closure Panel Adds 13 to Inquiry List

Article excerpt

The leaders of a legislative panel investigating the George Washington Bridge lane closures want to call 13 more people to provide sworn testimony, including members of Governor Christie's office and top officials at the Port Authority, according to a document obtained by The Record on Thursday.

The list signals Democratic lawmakers' intention to carry on with the inquiry -- which has faced Republican resistance -- well into the summer and possibly beyond. It includes a top political strategist for Christie, Michael DuHaime; Christie's former chief counsel, Charles McKenna; and the director of the unit that oversees independent authorities, Regina Egea. Top Port Authority officials and the Fort Lee mayor are on the list.

It was compiled by the two Democrats who together head the joint legislative committee, state Sen. Loretta Weinberg of Teaneck and Assemblyman John Wisniewski of Sayreville, and has been circulated to other members of the committee.

But it remains to be seen if federal prosecutors, who are conducting a criminal probe, will object to any of the individuals testifying.

New Jersey U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman's office requested last month that previously scheduled testimony by Port Authority Executive Director Pat Foye be postponed. Democrats remain interested in calling on Foye, who is on the list, as is his New Jersey counterpart at the Port Authority, Deputy Executive Director Deb Gramiccioni. Gramiccioni worked in Christie's office as a deputy chief of staff at the time of the lane closures.

The committee has tentatively scheduled its next meeting July 8.

Weinberg said the committee's attorney was waiting to hear from Fishman's office whether it had any objections. After that, the committee leadership expects to decide the order of the potential witnesses, she said.

The Democratic-led committee has used its subpoena power to gain access to documents and compel testimony, but some of the central figures in the scandal have refused to turn over records or testify before the committee, asserting their constitutional protection against self-incrimination. …

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