Panel Investigating Bridgegate Hires Counsel, Preps Subpoenas

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One of the two New Jersey committees investigating the George Washington Bridge lane closure scandal in Fort Lee has hired a former federal prosecutor as its legal advisor, chosen its members, and is working on new subpoenas.

Committee chair John Wisniewski said Wednesday the Assembly panel has hired defense attorney Reid Schar, a former assistant U.S. attorney who successfully prosecuted ex-Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich. Blagojevich is now serving a 14-year prison term for trying to sell an appointment to President Barack Obama's vacated U.S. Senate seat. 

“It was important for us to have somebody who had very good credentials and qualifications," Wisniewski said. Reid fits those qualifications and credentials perfectly."

The Assembly committee includes a total of 12 members and includes four Republicans.

Wisneiewski said new subpoenas will be issued Thursday but he declined to say who will get them. He previously said Governor Chris Christie’s deputy chief of staff Bridget Kelly and former campaign manager Bill Stepien topped his list.

Earlier subpoenas turned up an email sent by Kelly to David Wildstein, a Christie appointee to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, that provided the first tie of the Fort Lee lane closures to someone in Christie's office.

She wrote: "Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee."

The Assembly committee is one of two comprised of New Jersey lawmakers looking into the lane closures. A Senate committee has also been created.