The ‘Bridgegate’ investigation took an unexpected turn on Monday afternoon and the governor’s poll numbers are still suffering.
Federal prosecutors have withdrawn their subpoena for documents related to New Jersey Port Authority Chairman David Samson on Monday afternoon, just a week after launching an inquiry into whether or not the executive’s work with the Port Authority was benefitting clients of the private law firm he founded.
Instead, they’re ceding control of this investigation to their New Jersey counterpart that is already investigating the revenge traffic jam that has enveloped the New Jersey governor in scandal.
The Manhattan attorney went as far as to suggest that the New Jersey counterpart may soon request the same documents.
The decision comes on the eve of the first in-court appearance of a major player in the scandal.
The governor’s former deputy chief of staff Bridget Anne Kelly, who ordered lanes leading up to the George Washington Bridge closed in order to create a punishing traffic jam in Fort Lee, New Jersey, appeared in court for the first time on Tuesday. Kelly and former Christie campaign chairman Bill Stepien’s attorneys argued that responding to lawmakers’ subpoenas would violate their Fifth Amendment protections and that they’d incriminate themselves by doing so.
Fifth Amendment protections generally pertains to testimony, so the attorneys had to argue that the documents they were being asked to provide would be effectively testimony, in part because the defendents would have to authenticate the personal documents.
It’s the latest in a scandal that has damaged the rising Republican star Gov. Chris Christie’s brand as a no-nonsense, above-the-fray brand of politics.
The latest Rutgers-Eagleton poll shows that ‘Bridgegate’ has eroded his trustworthiness and approval rating.
Less than a quarter of New Jersey voters describe Christie as “trustworthy”—that’s down 20 points from October, before the scandal broke.
His approval rating fell by 20 points, too, down to 41%.