Firm must turn over notes from George Washington Bridge probe that cleared Gov. Christie

Posted: Updated:

(AP) -- The law firm that wrote a report clearing Gov. Chris Christie in the George Washington Bridge lane-closing scandal has been ordered to turn over any handwritten notes or recordings of interviews it conducted with dozens of administration officials.

A federal judge on Friday granted the request from two former Christie allies who are under indictment for their alleged roles in the scandal.

The request seeks notes from more than 70 interviews conducted for the report released last year by the Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher law firm. Christie hired the firm at taxpayer expense.

In a letter, the firm asked U.S. District Court Judge Susan Wigenton to deny the request.

The judge, though, said the firm's objections were "premature," noting that a "proper motion to quash or modify the subpoena is not currently before this court." Because of that, the judge said she did not address the merits of the firm's arguments.

The defendants' lawyers had made a valid request and that the request was not merely a "fishing expedition," the judge said. The firm has 45 days to file a motion with the court or hand over the information to the lawyers for Bridget Anne Kelly and Bill Baroni, who have both pleaded not guilty.

The firm said it could not immediately respond Sunday to a request for comment on the judge's order.

In a related matter, The Record newspaper reported that the state will not pay for Kelly's legal bills. Her attorney had claimed that she was being treated differently from other state employees who, like her, all believed it was a traffic study that caused the lane closings.

The details of the state's decision and the legal fight with Kelly's lawyers were made public on Friday, after The Record obtained the documents related to Kelly's request as well as correspondence between her attorney and state officials through an Open Public Records Act request.

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