Emails link Christie staffer, lane closings in NJ political controversy

Governor Chris Christie (R-NJ) answers a question during a news briefing at the 2013 Republican Governors Association conference in Scottsdale, Arizona November 21, 2013. REUTERS/Samantha Sais
Gov. Chris Christie insisted his administration had nothing to do with the lane closures. Credit: Reuters

Claims that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s administration closed traffic lanes at the George Washington Bridge as payback against a political opponent were boosted on Wednesday with the publication of a series of incriminating emails.

The emails quote a top Christie aide, Bridget Anne Kelly, saying to an executive at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey that it was “time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee,” which is at the New Jersey end of the bridge.

The Port Authority executive, David Wildstein, wrote back in an email: “Got it.” The Port Authority oversees the bridge that links New Jersey with New York City.

Copies of the emails were obtained and published by the Bergen Record, The New York Times and other media.

The decision to block off two of three local access ramps to the George Washington Bridge created traffic jams in Fort Lee and angered commuters who were caught in major delays.

Wildstein, a longtime Christie ally, admitted ordering the lane closures and resigned in December. A second top Port Authority appointee resigned a week later.

Democrats have accused Christie’s Republican supporters at the Port Authority of closing the lanes as political retribution against the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee, who did not endorse Christie’s re-election efforts.

Christie, a Republican widely expected to make a bid for the White House in 2016, has insisted that he and his staff had nothing to do with the lane closings.

Christie canceled his only public event on Wednesday without providing an explanation. A spokesman did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

The emails were supplied to the media by Wildstein in response to a subpoena issued by a panel of state lawmakers. He is due to testify before the panel on Thursday.

Port Authority officials have said the lane shutdowns were enacted during a last-minute traffic study.


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