Chris Christie update: Guv gets some rare good news

A recent ruling from a N.J. judge is a significant blow to the Legislature's Bridgegate inquiry

By Elias Isquith
Published April 10, 2014 12:57PM (EDT)
Chris Christie celebrates his election victory in Asbury Park, N.J., Nov. 5, 2013.                  (AP/Mel Evans)
Chris Christie celebrates his election victory in Asbury Park, N.J., Nov. 5, 2013. (AP/Mel Evans)

When's the last time Chris Christie had anything to be happy about? The release of his self-exonerating "internal inquiry," perhaps? But that was almost universally greeted with shrugs, eye rolls and even outright derision. In truth, besides news of the Republican Governors Association's record-breaking fundraising under Christie's stewardship, there's been little reason during 2014 for the governor of New Jersey to smile. On Wednesday, however, that changed in a big, big way.

Here's the news on Christie:

  • A New Jersey judge ruled on Wednesday that former Christie allies Bridget Kelly and Bill Stepien do not have to turn over documents to the investigative committee being run by the state Legislature. Kelly and Stepien have both argued that their right to protect themselves from self-incrimination as guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment gave them the ability to refuse the Legislature's requests. Judge Mary Jacobson agreed. Kelly is the aide who sent the infamous "Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee" email, while Stepien is Christie's former campaign manager and consigliere. Without their cooperation, the Legislature's committee risks finding itself at a dead end.
  • The Legislature's got other irons in the fire, though: Hunter Walker of Business Insider reports that it's on the verge of subpoenaing the lawyers behind Christie's "internal inquiry" in order to get them to hand over documents related to their "investigation." The Legislature is reportedly most interested in finding out who, exactly, were the 70 people the internal review authors claimed to have interviewed during their research.
  • And in non-Bridgegate Christie news, according to the Star-Ledger, the governor recently reiterated his opposition to most versions of a minimum wage hike. Christie vetoed a hike from $7.25 to $8.50 but was overridden by voters last year who overwhelmingly passed a ballot initiative to raise the wage and automatically adjust it for inflation. "I think that's a really bad idea," Christie said. "I think, in the long run, it's going to wind up costing jobs. But that decision was taken out of my hands."

Elias Isquith

Elias Isquith is a former Salon staff writer.

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