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NJ lawmakers to extend GW Bridge probe

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie speaks during a

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie speaks during a news conference at the Statehouse in Trenton, N.J. (Jan. 9, 2014) Credit: AP

Democratic legislators will move in the coming week to extend their investigation into a George Washington Bridge traffic jam that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's appointees plotted as political revenge.

New Jersey's Assembly -- which released emails documenting how officials loyal to the Republican governor plotted to paralyze traffic by closing bridge access lanes in Fort Lee -- will seek to reauthorize its power to subpoena documents and compel witnesses to testify under oath, according to a statement Saturday from Speaker-elect Vincent Prieto (D-Secaucus).

"The documents released this week related to the George Washington Bridge situation clearly show the need for a continued thorough investigation by the New Jersey General Assembly," he said in the statement. "Many questions remain unanswered about this threat to public safety and abuse of power."

Prieto plans to call a special Assembly session Thursday. Assemblyman John S. Wisniewski (D-Sayreville), who has been leading the inquiry, told the Star-Ledger newspaper that he wants to subpoena Christie's now-fired deputy chief of staff Bridget Anne Kelly, Christie spokesman Michael Drewniak and possibly other administration officials. Wisniewski said he believed Christie staffers more senior than Kelly were involved in the lane closure decision, the report said.

For months, Christie had ridiculed the notion that the lane closures were ordered as political punishment for Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich, a Democrat, who did not endorse him for re-election in 2013.

The mocking turned to mea culpa when emails revealed Kelly ordering "some traffic problems in Fort Lee." Christie, apologizing at a news conference Thursday, denied any involvement. He fired Kelly and said he had severed ties with a top campaign aide.

Two Christie appointees on the Port Authority, which runs the bridge, resigned last month.

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