NJ Democrats set to merge traffic jam probe

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TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey Democrats are set to pool their resources by merging separate legislative investigations into allegations that Gov. Chris Christie's aides blocked traffic lanes near the George Washington Bridge to create backups in a nearby town to punish the Democratic mayor.

The Assembly and Senate plan to vote Monday to establish a joint committee. It will be made up of eight Democrats and four Republicans and will have subpoena power related to the lane closings and abuse of power allegations.

Chicago lawyer Reid Schar will serve as special counsel.

The U.S. Attorney's office has stepped up a criminal investigation of the matter with subpoenas of its own to Christie's re-election campaign and the state Republican party.

Twenty subpoenas issued by the Assembly panel remain pending. They're due back next week.

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