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New York district attorney investigating Port Authority: media reports

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie speaks during a news conference in Trenton, New Jersey March 28, 2014. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie speaks during a news conference in Trenton, New Jersey March 28, 2014. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

By David Jones

NEWARK, New Jersey (Reuters) - The Manhattan district attorney has issued a subpoena seeking correspondence from New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's administration and records from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey relating to several major construction projects, according to media reports.

The subpoena, issued in March, seeks a wide range of records from current and former officials from the Port Authority and Christie's administration about a number of projects, the Wall Street Journal, citing an unidentified source, reported on its website.

The New York Times, also citing an unnamed source in a report on its website on Saturday, said District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr's rackets division is leading the investigation.

The reports follow a scandal over the September closing of access lanes to the George Washington Bridge which connects New Jersey to northern Manhattan, ostensibly for a traffic study which never materialized, and which caused extensive delays for four days in the town of Fort Lee. The town's Democratic mayor had not endorsed Christie's re-election bid in 2013.

David Wildstein, a former executive at the Port Authority, admitted to ordering lane closures and resigned in January. Wildstein had earlier received an email from Christie's deputy chief of staff Bridget Kelly calling for the lane closures.

A possible probe by Vance's office would suggest investigators are opening a new front against the Port Authority. A New Jersey legislative committee is investigating the shutdown on the bridge, and U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman, based in Newark, New Jersey, is investigating whether federal laws were broken.

The various projects Vance's rackets division is seeking information on include the reconstruction of the Pulaski Skyway in New Jersey, which caused major, long-term traffic diversions starting at the weekend, repairs on the Goethals and Bayonne Bridges which connect New Jersey to Staten Island, the Downtown Transit Hub in Lower Manhattan and the World Trade Center reconstruction project, the New York Times reported.

A spokeswoman for Vance's office declined to comment.

Christie is widely seen as a potential Republican candidate for the White House in 2016. He has denied any knowledge of the plan to close lanes on the George Washington Bridge.

An internal review commissioned by Christie on the lane closures last month cleared the governor and his current staff, placing blame on Kelly and another former colleague.

(Editing by Alex Dobuzinskis, Chris Michaud, Robert Birsel)

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