Transcript for Former Christie Aide Refuses to Hand Over Documents
This is a special group. -- -- -- -- Keeping -- fired Chris Christie staffer -- -- in court today. Asking a judge to not enforce a subpoena against her because she says turning over. Documents about the bridge scandal would be akin to testifying against herself. Hello everyone I'm Michelle Franzen in New York this is an ABC news digital special report. Chris Christie's former deputy chief of staff Bridget Kelly in court this hour her lawyers saying she believes that turning over. Text emails and documents would be -- incriminating. Kelly and former Christie campaign manager bill -- you were subpoenaed in the investigation into the political payback plot so where traffic was intentionally -- near the George Washington Bridge created hours in long traffic jams last fall in order to punish the mayor of nearby town of Fort Lee. For more on this scandal and what we're hearing about these subpoenas this morning I want to bring -- ABC's -- -- New York. Thank you for joining us as the defense -- been used before using the Fifth Amendment to not turn over documents. No assurance that -- the common defense for this kind of -- think this is a little bit of the unique situation Michelle since these are legislative subpoenas. That -- the defendants are are are fighting because of the possibility of criminal charges. And a federal investigation so there are a number of things for the judge to consider -- so far she heard. For the better part of an hour probably attorney for the legislative committee that's investigating the lane closures at the George Washington bridge and read -- The attorney made clear that this is no fishing expedition. The committee has certain documents that it knows exists. And it has certain documents that it believes exists and they want to see them because they're trying to get to the bottoms of what how. Happen at the George Washington Bridge back in September that caused four days of traffic jams. Four political retribution against the local mayor who declined to endorse the governor they want to know the origin of those slain -- officers who ordered them and why and they've they've paid. They've been able to get close. But they don't believe they have the full pictures of these subpoena these documents and now bill stepping -- and Bridget Kelly are fighting them and it's their turn now -- attorneys Europe now. Trying to quash the subpoena -- to Kelly of course in court today he said another subpoena without the -- -- in what his role in the bridge closings. A -- -- and was governor Christie's. Right hand man politically his campaign manager somebody who's going to go with Chris Christie to the Republican Governors Association as he started to climb the ranks of the Republican Party in. Now he's put out step in because he sacked -- and and Bridget Kelly saying that he was blind sided by those two act in the aftermath of of what happened at the George Washington Bridge. And and -- for -- and in Cali there there in kind of an awkward position now. Trying to protect themselves. And -- at the risk of may be compromising their their relationship with -- somebody with whom they worked so closely and and for homeland notably admired as a political leader. So there addressing the subpoenas are hoping to get access to the information to prosecutors are but neither of them have officially been charged with a crime correct. Right -- remember legislative subpoenas this has nothing to do with that the federal investigation and it's open now from the US attorney's office in New Jersey the the US attorney Paul Fishman has tried to interview. Kelly and stepping in and that's part of the reason why they're fighting the subpoenas they think the argument goes. That if they turn over these documents to the legislative committee that's effectively opening them up to testimony in front of federal prosecutors and they don't want to do that. Citing their Fifth Amendment right against self incrimination. These these the legislative committee through attorney -- -- had argued. Just moments ago. That no this -- -- testimony you don't have to think very hard that you were involved in this it's been publicly documented that you were involved and so just turn over the records we -- -- And then you can go on your merry way of course it isn't that simple because there is the possibility. Of a criminal prosecution here. -- was a back and forth in a fight to see if those documents will have to be released in the meantime Governor Christie. Has he spoken about the scandal in recent weeks as it is heated up. Well not much he's been asked about it here in there in various appearances but many of these appearances have been before friendly audiences he's appeared at fund raisers. On behalf of the Republican Governors Association as he builds his national profile toward what may be a run for president when he sixteenths. He is also held a number of town hall meetings in friendly your districts in New Jersey where the audience is willing to give him -- -- perhaps more than. Say if he went into Fort Lee New Jersey where there's -- the epicenter of this traffic scandal. Was and so the governor's talked about it here in -- and he continues to say that he did not know at the time or beforehand. That that this was all about political retribution. That his aides including Kelly and stepping in blind sided him that's why he sacked them. And he says he would consider firing others if if it's learned that you know others were involved too. That's of the legislature is trying to get -- now although they they don't seem to be having much luck in getting extra documents from some of the key players involved. You know Aaron as -- watching you know -- subpoena isn't the issue of that plane out this also has. Affected Christie's office I mean -- been quite a few changes in the staff tell us what the inner workings are now on the staff. Well he's without some of his his top aide says top allies in. In certain agencies including the port authority of new York New Jersey that's bi state agency that oversees the George Washington bridge and and where this lane closure was seemingly. You know. Where it originated. And so -- the governor is it is without some of those key people and and it's happening chest as he is climbing toward that possible run. For president now whether privately he's getting their advice who -- but. The governor's undoubtedly hurt by this in and he he you've seen it in his demeanor in public appearances he -- In some ways portraying himself as a changed man now is less bombastic than perhaps he has been. And -- and clearly chastened by by a scandal that has opened up some real questions about whether. He can in fact get the Republican nomination for president. And some of those allegations are spawning new allegations this morning we're hearing from the New York Times they say -- other allegations that Christie used his position -- At the Port Authority as rewards for friends and that he even used some funds from the organization to avoid raising taxes. Does that have any implications also for the governor. Well I think this is a window into. Look at what the times analysis suggests. It is Steve -- the wave of Christie machine operates that. He uses -- offices where he may have some influence in order to pursue his so political agenda. I'm not sure that's particularly novel for area for a for a politician. But in this particular case the times analysis suggests that it was fairly blatant including. It giving pieces of 9/11 memorabilia us. To certain mayors with whom the governor was trying to curry political favor you know in exchange for say an endorsement. That the mayor of portly -- and never never gave enhance traffic jams. So that that this is yet part of the of the investigation and apartments opening up Michelle has as Bridget Kelly and and until -- -- are ours. Kind of been intertwined in this. -- -- -- as prosecutors are also interviewing lord's trying to interviewer at least investigating. David Samson the chairman of the of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. And his role in in that authority has come under scrutiny in the wake of this George Washington Bridge scandal. And that's key ally of the governor the so that is that the governor is facing. A number of fronts all because traffic was tied up for four days and a tiny town with a George Washington Bridge is anchored on the New Jersey side. And making all of that open up and -- as you mentioned a larger web. Of course -- we heard him speak it's C -- last week expected at one point to be a front runner in 2016. For the presidential election. Has -- houses standing now on the Republican Party. Well I mean it's so wide open he received a huge ovation at -- -- and there are -- number of audiences that still. Believe that Christie would be a formidable presidential candidate. Against any democratic challenger and in the one to lead the Republican Party going forward -- leave the political analysis. Two 22 others but -- the scandal has done is is clearly distracted him. And and raised questions about if not his leadership abilities at least his leadership style. What about. His style would lead people like Bridget Kelly or bill stepping -- to believe. That that a politically motivated traffic jam would be okay now. The legislature's trying to get at some of these questions and that's why they're trying to figure out what the origin of the lane closures were. Whether it leads to the governor directly who knows but at least those closest to him were were were involved and and it's been you know if at the very least I -- a distraction. And of course Aaron of this also you know they want to get to the bottom of this -- that -- Governor Christie would. Seems like the type of leader that would know everything that was going on in his office as well correct. That's didn't go the way his his you know his office has been portrayed that the governor. You know and he says he's not a micro manager by the way but that's how some have portrayed him or sought to portray him remember this is an inquiry being led by. By Democrats so the political opposition some there there is some you know one -- -- -- here. However. That we got the governor's style. And and substance as a leader but clearly are are under scrutiny as he seeks higher office. ABC -- -- -- ski in New York thank you for joining us you can also get back to watching. The -- live stream of the court appearance for Bridget Kelly. And you can keep up with the story in real time by downloading in the ABC news Athens star and this story for exclusive updates on the go. Stay with abcnews.com for your latest headlines as well for now on Michelle -- New York. With this ABC news digital special report.
This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.