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2 tied to Christie still refusing to turn over documents

| Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014, 7:45 p.m.

TRENTON, N.J. — Two key figures in a political payback scandal ensnaring Gov. Chris Christie's administration reiterated on Tuesday to New Jersey investigators that they will not turn over requested documents.

Lawyers for former Christie campaign manager Bill Stepien and fired aide Bridget Kelly said in letters to lawmakers that their clients would not cooperate.

Legislators investigating the blocking of traffic lanes near the heavily traveled George Washington Bridge had given the pair until Tuesday to turn over documents.

Their request that the subpoenas be withdrawn was rejected by state lawmakers, and the new deadline set.

Eighteen other people and organizations close to Christie have complied with similar subpoenas or have been granted extensions to produce documents. The ongoing scandal threatens to upend any political aspirations for Christie, a Republican who's a possible 2016 presidential candidate.

The panel is seeking to find out from how high up the chain of command the order to block traffic near the bridge came and why. Some believe it was to punish the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee, the town at the base of the bridge, for not endorsing Christie's re-election bid.

The U.S. attorney's office is conducting a parallel criminal investigation.

Federal officials continue to probe an allegation that the administration tied the receipt of a town's Superstorm Sandy relief funds to its mayor's support for a redevelopment project favored by the governor.

The Christie administration has denied the charges.

Michael Critchely, a lawyer for Kelly, confirmed that his client is not providing documents because the subpoena is “constitutionally defective.” He didn't elaborate, but lawyers for both Kelly and Stepien in the past have invoked their clients' rights not to self-incriminate, especially as federal prosecutors are looking into the case.

In a letter Tuesday sent by Stepien lawyer Kevin Marino, he asks the panel to explain why it invalidated his subpoena objections, rejects the idea of a private review of documents and says his continuing objections apply to the entire subpoena.

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