Where investigations stand in traffic jam scandal

AP News
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Posted: Sep 07, 2014 1:44 PM

The closures of lanes leading up to the George Washington Bridge in Fort Lee, New Jersey, a year ago touched off multiple investigations — all funded by taxpayers — into whether they were done for political retribution and, if so, who was involved.

Here is a rundown of where the investigations stand:

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LAWMAKERS DIG

The New Jersey Assembly Transportation committee was interested in the lane closures before they became a full-blown scandal.

The committee started looking into the closures last year. Information that the committee received through subpoenas included the email from a staffer for Republican Gov. Chris Christie to a Port Authority of New York and New Jersey official saying, "Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee" just weeks before the lanes were closed.

The legislative effort has since been taken over by a special joint committee.

Some potentially key witnesses have invoked their right not to incriminate themselves and have refused to testify. The U.S. attorney's office has asked the committee's lawyer not to interview some others.

The committee has queried some members of Christie's staff but has not made any huge revelations. With parts of the probe on hold, it is looking less likely that the committee will have a report done by early fall, as one of its co-chairs has said she would like.

Christie and his supporters say the investigation is politically motivated.

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CHRISTIE RESPONDS

In January, Christie's office hired a law firm to primarily help it comply with subpoenas from lawmakers and other criminal investigations.

But it did other work, too: It released a report in March that cleared Christie and his associates of any wrongdoing in the lane closures. The report suggested that a former Christie aide, Bridget Kelly, and a former Port Authority official, David Wildstein, worked together to close the bridge lanes and that no one else was involved.

The report also denied claims by Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer that her city's Superstorm Sandy aid was being tied to her support of a real estate project favored by some with Christie connections. The report has been widely panned as a whitewash.

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PROSECUTORS ACT

The man who replaced Christie as the U.S. attorney for New Jersey, Paul Fishman, announced in January that his office was investigating the lane closures.

But federal investigators haven't disclosed anything beyond that.

Some of Christie's staffers are among those who have spoken to a federal grand jury.

But what exactly is being looked at and when any indictments might be made or unsealed has not been made public.