Another massive shoe drops in the investigation of the unscheduled lane closures on the George Washington Bridge. The closures were initially claimed to be part of a “traffic study” and caused a massive traffic jam on the nation’s busiest bridge. But that claim has been cast into serious doubt as the closures now appear to be the result of a coordinated effort by officials appointed by Governor Chris Christie at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and Christie’s personal and campaign staff to retaliate against the mayor of Fort Lee, New Jersey by causing debilitating traffic in his town.
It has been revealed that one of Governor Christie’s deputies was involved in coordinating the retaliation through a personal email account.
Governor Christie’s deputy chief of staff told one of his top Port Authority executives that it was “time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee” several weeks before controversial lane closures took place at the George Washington Bridge, according to sources.
Bridget Anne Kelly, one of three deputies on Christie’s senior staff, wrote in an email to David Wildstein, a top Christie executive at the Port Authority, on Aug. 13, about three weeks before the closures, according to the sources.
Wildstein has already resigned from the Port Authority and is set to appear before the New Jersey Assembly Transportation Committee tomorrow to answer questions regarding documents he provided after a committee subpoena.
The emails paint a clear picture of Wildstein and Kelly coordinating campaign efforts for Governor Christie’s re-election campaign and the context for Kelly’s message “time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee” as part of the effort to secure endorsements for Governor Christie.
The emails also invalidated public comments Governor Christie himself made regarding the scandal.
Other top Christie associates mentioned in or copied on the email chain, all after the top New York appointee at the authority ordered the lanes reopened, include David Samson, the chairman of the agency; Bill Stepien, Christie’s re-election campaign manager and the newly appointed state GOP chairman; and Michael Drewniak, Christie’s spokesman.
Christie has previously said that no one in his staff or campaign was involved in the lane closings, and he has dismissed questions about political retribution by joking that he moved the traffic cones himself.
Clearly not true. Christie’s false statements were caught on camera where he not only claimed none of his staff were involved but mocked reporters who asked the questions. Most figured he was deflecting, but from what? Now we know.
The traffic caused by the alleged retaliation made it difficult for ambulances to treat a heart attack victim and for police to search for a missing child.