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Wildstein Attorney: Christie Knew About Bridge Lane Closures

Governor denies he had any knowledge of the scandal before it was reported publicly.

Governor Chris Christie and former Deputy Chief of Staff Bridget Anne Kelly tour a fire on the boardwalk in Seaside Heights, N.J. on Thursday, Sept. 12, 2013. Photo by Tim Larson/Office of the Governor.
Governor Chris Christie and former Deputy Chief of Staff Bridget Anne Kelly tour a fire on the boardwalk in Seaside Heights, N.J. on Thursday, Sept. 12, 2013. Photo by Tim Larson/Office of the Governor.

An attorney for a principal figure in the "Bridgegate" scandal that has plagued Gov. Chris Christie's administration reversed course Friday, indicating the governor knew about the George Washington Bridge lane closures in Fort Lee all along, according to a Star-Ledger report.

In a statement following the report's release, the Christie administration again denied the governor had any knowledge of the "Bridgegate" scandal, and the political motivation behind it, until he read about it in news reports.

"As the governor said in a December 13th press conference, he only first learned lanes were closed when it was reported by the press, and as he said in his Jan. 9 press conference, had no indication that this was anything other than a traffic study until he read otherwise the morning of Jan. 8. The governor denies Mr. Wildstein's lawyer's other assertions,” according to the statement from the governor's office.

The attorney representing David Wildstein, the former Port Authority of New York and New Jersey official who ordered the lane closures last year, said evidence exists tying Gov. Christie Christie to knowing about the closures that administration officials used as political retaliation against the Fort Lee mayor, according to The Star-Ledger.

The charge, which was made in a letter sent by attorney Alan Zegas to the Port Authority, said Wildstein "contests the accuracy of various statements that the governor made about him and he can prove the inaccuracy of some," according to the report.

In its statement, the Christie administration did say Wildstein's lawyer "confirms what the governor has said all along - he had absolutely no prior knowledge of the lane closures before they happened and whatever Mr. Wildstein's motivations were for closing them to begin with."

Wildstein appeared before an Assembly committee earlier this month and refused to answer questions related to the "Bridgegate" scandal. The panel, led by John Wisniewski, D-Parlin, held Wildstein in contempt, saying he waived his Fifth Amendment rights to remain silent.

In a statement, Wisniewski said his committee members "have read the letter from Mr. Wildstein’s attorney and will consider it as our investigation moves forward.”

State officials last month released thousands of pages of documents subpoenaed from the Port Authority in the wake of a continuing investigation into whether staffers and appointees of Gov. Chris Christie orchestrated a September traffic nightmare in Fort Lee.

Also last month, Christie, a potential presidential candidate, took questions for more than an hour in a press conference that stood in bold relief when played alongside a clip of Christie sarcastically answering a question about the “traffic study” from the same wooden podium several months ago.

After the press conference, the governor travelled to Fort Lee, where he apologized to its mayor, Mark Sokolich, and its citizens. Sokolich accepted Christie's apology, and also said he believed the governor had no role in the closures.

Emails first obtained by The Record show Christie staffer Bridget Anne Kelly told a Port Authority official close to Christie that it was “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee,” about two weeks before the lanes were closed.

“Got it,” replied the Port Authority executive, David Wildstein, who resigned last month as national media and incensed local politicians turned up the heat on the scandal.

Wildstein appeared before a Legislative hearing Thursday afternoon and continually invoked his 5th Amendment right against self-incrimination, and the committee found him in contempt.

Mike Shortall Sr February 07, 2014 at 02:16 PM
All this and still not an iota of anything linking Christie to - OMG - a traffic jam!! What a waste of ethernet ...
Ridgewood Mom February 07, 2014 at 02:30 PM
It was a concocted and deliberate traffic jam aimed at punishing the mayor's constituents for the purpose of retribution over a political opponent.
MS2012 February 07, 2014 at 02:37 PM
RM. you need a hobby. I bet you had a nervous breakdown over the hanging chad.
Mike Shortall Sr February 07, 2014 at 03:13 PM
Maybe we should ask Hillary how she and Bill treated - and will treat - their political enemies. Hillary still has quite a list from 2008!
BellairBerdan February 07, 2014 at 05:25 PM
Mike I doubt they'll take it out on 100,000's of innocent people and laugh as their children are stranded on buses for hours, but we'll see.
Mike Shortall Sr February 07, 2014 at 09:24 PM
Again ... not Christie's doing (according to all facts known at this time). So what's your point?
Ridgewood Mom February 08, 2014 at 09:15 AM
Just the facts. Christie's top aides (or he himself) concocted a deliberate traffic jam, on his behalf, aimed at punishing the governor's constituents for the purpose of retribution over a political opponent. Those aides say that he knew about it. Whether Christie is lying about the details or those aides are lying (or whether they are all lying), and whatever the degree of Christie's management of the situation, his involvement is unquestionable. And that is something profoundly terrible about Christie.
suz February 08, 2014 at 11:36 AM
Ridgewood Mom...There has not been any proof that Christie's "aides concocted..., on his behalf, blah, blah blah". Show me where you have proof. And I don't mean the accusations in this witch hunt. PROOF. (By the way, you can go online and read what has been submitted to date...nothing there!!!) There is none to date (proof) that has been made public. Yes, so what is your point? You seem like an intelligent woman, I just don't understand how you can say he is guilty when SOLID, SUBSTANTIAL proof (that he knew or concocted this sham) has yet to be made public?
Ridgewood Mom February 08, 2014 at 12:19 PM
Suz, are you serious that there has not been any proof that Christie's aides concocted the lane closings on his behalf? Of course it has. Solid, substantial proof. The only question is the degree to which Christie gave the command. Have you been following this story at all?
MS2012 February 08, 2014 at 01:38 PM
RM what is your opinion on the IRS scandal, Benghazi and Obamacare debacle?Stuff that matters!!! I am hoping you are a mindless NBC follower who cannot stop talking about things that do no matter, like traffic.
Ridgewood Mom February 08, 2014 at 03:34 PM
MS2012, are you really trying to argue that it doesn't matter that Christie's inner circle did these thuggish things, for him, because Benghazi?
Mike Shortall Sr February 08, 2014 at 05:33 PM
The point here Ridgewood is that the preeminent Democrat candidate for President held direct responsibility for the abandonment and assassination of an U.S. Ambassador. So far you have NOTHING tying Christie directly to the closure of a few lanes on a bridge. Which one do you think is worse than the other?
MS2012 February 08, 2014 at 06:01 PM
I am saying that it doesn't matter because it is traffic and traffic happens every day. I don't care about traffic and you should not either focus on important issues . Read my posts they are very straight forward and not difficult to interpret, people should stop getting worked up about stupid things.
Ridgewood Mom February 08, 2014 at 06:24 PM
No other potential presidential candidate, Democratic or Republican, has done anything to act vindictively toward political opponents, as Christie's administration has.
suz February 08, 2014 at 07:31 PM
Ridgewood Mom...Perhaps I should of been a bit more specific. Of course there is proof his employees did orchestrate this fiasco, but NO PROOF that Christie was indeed involved. I hope I cleared that up for you regarding my post. His employees had too much power and, I believe, too much power can go to ones head. They really screwed him royally.
Mike Shortall Sr February 08, 2014 at 09:55 PM
Ridgewood Mom suffers from LackoLongTermMemory, for she conveniently forgets the vindictiveness of the Clintons. Have you heard about the list Hillary has of those who tossed her aside in 2008 for Obama???
Mike Shortall Sr February 08, 2014 at 09:56 PM
Doesn't matter, Suz, Ridgewood has a one-track, tunnel-vision, MSNBC-fed mind.
BellairBerdan February 08, 2014 at 10:27 PM
Mike, you're faced with indisputable proof that Christie's closest and hand picked aides acted with purposeful malice with the intent to cause harm to 1000's of people then laughed amongst themselves at the children that were hurt by their actions. All of this happened within feet of the governor's desk. You need to do some soul searching my friend.
George Murphy February 08, 2014 at 11:46 PM
BB - I am not name calling - just calling attention to ..... This problem at the GW Bridge is a 247-365 one that happens regularly. End of July, 2007 - much worse. Underground steam pipe explosion in Manhattan caused tremendous gridlock, as have visits from you-know-whom when he is not on vacation. Bottom Line: The Dems need a case to keep them in power for the mid-term and 2016 elections and who knows, this just might do it. The GW Bridge is a clear example of two pounds of Baloney in a one-pound bag and it will never be any different.
George Murphy February 08, 2014 at 11:51 PM
Now, I will save you the trouble: "Christie's was a vindictive and intentional, even deliberate political action that harmed many school children and even caused an old lady her life." How's that? Did I done good?
BellairBerdan February 09, 2014 at 12:08 AM
Are you confusing accidents with deliberate acts, George?
Mike Shortall Sr February 09, 2014 at 12:57 AM
Well, this exercise has gotten tiresome, so I'll come back after some "soul searching" when the ridiculously redundant investigative efforts into lane closures no one outside NJ/NY cares about finish their witch hunt. Let's start a pool ... How deep into the Star-Ledger will the "Oops, we found nothing there" three-paragraph blurb be buried?
Ridgewood Mom February 09, 2014 at 07:43 AM
It funny, a week or so ago the Christie administration released a document that they thought would crush David Wildstein, in response to his statements that the Governor knew about GWB delays as they were happening. Since, the document has been laughed at for being petty. In particular, picking on how Wildstein was in high school has made Christie look even worse. Now the Christie administration says that Christie never saw that memo before going out to the public. Ridiculous.
Citizen of America February 11, 2014 at 04:44 PM
Speaking of Benghazi: 41% of Republicans think it's the biggest scandal ever; but 39% of Republicans don't even know where Benghazi is. #ThankYouFox"News" #JohnBirchTeaParty http://tinyurl.com/nncaylz
Long Time Resident February 12, 2014 at 09:32 AM
BREAKING NEWS: President changes the law of the land, Obamacare, violates the U.S. constitution. I recall when Ted Cruz wanted to make a change to Obamacare the Democrats went crazy saying it's the law of the land, it's the law of the land. Where are these Democrats now? http://money.cnn.com/2014/02/10/news/economy/obamacare-employer/index.html
Long Time Resident February 13, 2014 at 06:50 PM
Hey Clueless in America (aka Citizen of America) name one, just one, law or proposal supported by the tea party that is not reasonable. And just in case you ask yes, I believe it is immoral and unethical for the democrats and republicans to borrow and spend money that our children and their children will have to pay back. Obama pledged to stop borrowing in during his campaign in 2007 which just turned out to be the first of his many lies!
MaxDuPont February 13, 2014 at 07:05 PM
A must read article. It doesn't matter whether you are a Democrat or Republican; it shows the sorry state of NJ politics. Read it and weep for our sorry state. http://www.newrepublic.com/article/116601/chris-christies-rise-and-fall
Mike Shortall Sr February 14, 2014 at 12:43 PM
Did you hear about Chris Christie's great performance at the Economic Club of Chicago on Tuesday? Didn't think so ... http://horsham.patch.com/groups/mike-shortalls-blog/p/chris-christies-very-good-hushhush-day
BellairBerdan February 14, 2014 at 02:33 PM
key word "performance"
Oscar vasquez March 03, 2014 at 12:40 PM
http://socialissuesinmotown.blogspot.com/

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