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New Jersey bridge lane-closing defendants seeking notes from probe that cleared Christie


NEWARK, New Jersey — The two former allies of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie under indictment for their alleged roles in the George Washington Bridge lane-closing scandal want access to materials from an investigation that cleared Christie of wrongdoing.

The motion, filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court, asks a judge to subpoena interview notes from more than 70 interviews that provided the guts of the more than 300-page report released last year by the Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher law firm.

While the interviews were summarized in the report, the motion claims, the law firm told prosecutors it didn't retain notes taken during the sessions, which attorney Michael Critchley, representing former Christie deputy chief of staff Bridget Kelly, called "troublesome to say the least."

By law, Critchley wrote, outside counsel retained by the state attorney general's office on behalf of the governor is required to retain work product for at least seven years.

"Gibson Dunn was keenly aware of its obligation to retain, and not alter or destroy, any and all information in its possession related to an ongoing Grand Jury investigation and responsive to a Grand Jury subpoena of its client."

Kelly and co-defendant Bill Baroni, a former Port Authority of New York and New Jersey executive, contend in the motion that the notes are crucial because they contain "actual, contemporaneous recitations of the facts" by people likely to testify at a trial.

The motion filed Wednesday claims that people present at the interviews described a stenographer or paralegal "feverishly" typing what was said.

The state attorney general's office and the Gibson Dunn attorney who presented the report could not be reached late Wednesday night for comment.

Kelly and Baroni were indicted this month on charges including wire fraud and deprivation of civil rights. A third former Christie ally, former Port Authority official David Wildstein, pleaded guilty and said the scheme was concocted to punish Fort Lee's mayor for not endorsing Christie for re-election

Gibson Dunn was hired by Christie at taxpayer expense, and its report concluded in March 2014 that the governor had no knowledge beforehand of lane closings in September 2013 near the bridge between New Jersey and New York that caused four days of massive gridlock in Fort Lee.

In an email to Wildstein a few weeks before the lane closings that was released through a state legislative subpoena, Kelly wrote "Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee." Kelly was fired and Baroni and Wildstein resigned in the wake of the scandal.

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