TRENTON, N.J. — Two key figures in a political payback plot that has overshadowed Governor Chris Christie’s administration for two months will attempt to convince a judge that they should not be forced to turn over documents to a legislative investigatory panel.
Lawyers for former Christie campaign manager Bill Stepien and fired deputy chief of staff Bridget Kelly have asked a judge in Mercer County to throw out their subpoenas, which seek documents involving a plot to create massive traffic jams near the George Washington Bridge.
The lawyers say handing over personal e-mails, text messages, and planning calendars would be like testifying against themselves. They also cite an ongoing federal criminal investigation and the possibility of prosecution as a legal basis for not complying with the legislative inquiry.
Lawyers for the legislative panel say a blanket refusal to comply should not be allowed.
In a court filing Friday, the lawyers said in order to claim privilege, witnesses like Stepien and Kelly must raise specific objections to particular requests or questions.
Instead, the lawyers said, Stepien is arguing that the subpoena is too broad when it asks for records of his conversations with certain people, and too narrow when it asks that he self-select documents that involve a plot by Christie aides to tie up traffic near the heavily traveled bridge.