GW Bridge Officials Hire Lawyers, Get Delay on Subpoenas

The two main players in the George Washington Bridge controversy have hired prominent white collar criminal defense attorneys who immediately asked for a delay in providing subpoenaed documents.

Assemblyman John Wisniewski, the Democrat leading the legislative probe into the Port Authority's unannounced lane closures in September, granted a short extension from Thursday to Monday. That's five days, not the three weeks that attorneys for Bill Baroni and David Wildstein had sought.

Baroni, the former executive director of the Port Authority, and Wildstein, his second in command, resigned in the wake of allegations that they ordered traffic-causing lane closures as political retribution against the Fort Lee mayor who didn't endorse Christie. They claimed the lane closures were for a traffic study, but three months later the traffic study hasn't surfaced and other officials say they haven't heard of it.

Baroni has retained Michael Himmel, who represented Solomon Dwek, the alleged scam artist and confidential informant whose information led to charges against 44 people in 2009. Wildstein's lawyer is Alan Zegas, who represented former Newark Mayor Sharpe James when he was charged by then-U.S. Attorney Christie.

The subpoenas cover all correspondence by Christie and his aides on the lane closures. Christie and his aides, though, often communicate via text and private email. That may not matter — attorney Bill Caruso, former executive director of the Assembly Democrats, said the subpoena is intended to cover even correspondence over personal channels.

Democrats' subpoena power expires Jan. 13, the last day of the legislative session. To secure more documents after that, the Assembly or Senate would have to pass a measure granting such power.