Christopher Baxter and Susan K. Livio report the legal battle going on now at the Mercer County Criminal Courthouse over whether Bridget Kelly and Bill Stepien should have to respond to subpoenas issued by Reid Schar, counsel for he New Jersey legislative committee investigating the scandals surrounding Governor Chris Christie, in Bridget Anne Kelly arrives in court to fight subpoena.
Lawyers for Kelly and Stepien claimed the subpoenas are "overly broad" and would require Stepien and Kelly "to use their minds" in order to respond, which would be tantamount to testifying against themselves, to "search for, locate and authenticate responsive documents."
Schar responded that existing evidence proves there was communications between the Kelly and Stepien, and denied his subpoenas were a "fishing expedition.
"Here we have communications specific to the lane closures by both of the defendants in this case," he said. "From our perspective that's sufficient to meet that reasonable particularity standard." ... Schar said that since the time the subpoena was issued, the committee had received even more e-mails in which Kelly or Stepien are referred to. ... "It’s not an inference, it’s a knowledge at this point that they are on a considerable number of communications related to these issues," he said, adding that those communications were proof that more exist. ... He added, "Obviously Ms. Kelly is critical to what occurred based on the communications we've presented to your honor."
Issues about immunity and jurisdiction were also raised, however, the main issue before the court seems to be about this "reasonable particularity spectrum."
But Jacobson replied: "Again you haven’t pointed me to any e-mail that shows, that contemplated other emails. You’re making assumptions it seems from the emails that you have that there’s got to be more. And I’m just not sure where that falls on the spectrum."
As he put it, "It can't be that they get to take public information and try to privatize it." ... "Are you asking me only to enforce part of the subpoena, the part for which there is reasonable particularity, and then to say I won’t enforce the balance?" Jacobson asked. "I don’t know if judicial surgery is appropriate here. If it’s overbroad, it’s overbroad."
Marino, the lawyer for Stepien, insisted that the subpoena were not particular enough and that
"The committee in this case doesn't know these documents exist," he said. "They are trying to enlist him as an agent of the committee to help them."
He added: "Those e-mails do not permit the fair inference that there are other documents. It's not a foregone conclusion."
Kelly's lawyer Critchley state laws requiring public employees to "retain and maintain records." Schar argued that Kelly gave up any Fifth amendment right to withhold them when becoming a public employee. Chritchley countered that these rules regarding public records are unclear, so it would be unfair for to say state employees lose their constitutional rights just because the "rules of the game are unclear."
I have to take my girlfriend to a dentist and should be back in about an hour. I hope this keep your Christie-gate addiction shakes at bay.