A lawyer for David Wildstein, a central figure in New Jersey's traffic jam scandal, said he is ready to talk if prosecutors give him immunity.
State lawmakers put out a string of subpoenas yesterday -- they want to know why New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's political appointees restricted access to the George Washington Bridge, creating four days of turmoil for drivers. At least five inquiries or investigations have now been launched.
Seventeen individuals and three organizations are being subpoenaed by a state assembly committee, but their identities will not be made public until they have been served with legal papers.
Among those expected to receive subpoenas are current or former members of Christie’s inner circle: former Port Authority official Bill Baroni, Port Authority chairman David Samson, fired deputy chief of staff Bridget Ann Kelly, and ousted Christie adviser Bill Stepien.
"We've been following a trail that started with the finances and operation of the Port Authority, and piece by piece, we followed the trail, and unexpectedly, we wound up in the governor's office," said John Wisniewski, Assembly Select Committee on Investigations Chair.
The Assembly hired Reid Schar to help its investigation. The former federal prosecutor helped put Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich behind bars on corruption charges.
With legislators turning up the heat, Christie made a point of showing he was focused on running the state by visiting a town devastated by Superstorm Sandy. But the scandal was clearly still on his mind.
"No one, I can assure you, ever told me or anybody on my team that it was going to be easy," said Christie. "Hadn't been up to this point, and there's all kinds of challenges, as you know. They come every day, out of nowhere, to test you."
In Washington, Democratic Senator Jay Rockefeller (who is also conducting an inquiry) said that he had seen "zero evidence" that access lanes to the George Washington Bridge were closed for "a legitimate traffic study."
Christie has denied playing any role in the lane closures.
"I want to assure the people of New Jersey of one thing -- I was born here, I was raised here, I'm raising my family here, and this is where I intend to spend the rest of my life," he said. "And whatever test they prove in front of me, I will meet that test, because I'm doing it on your behalf."
Christie is making a fundraising trip to Florida this weekend, and national Democrats said they aren't about to let him forget about the controversy back home. They're planning to hold press conferences in each of the cities where Christie makes public stops.