After news broke yesterday of clear and convincing evidence placing the scandal over lane closures at the George Washington Bridge within Governor Chris Christie’s front office, Christie cancelled a planned event with victims of the Sandy Hurricane and bunkered down to await a press conference from New Jersey Assembly Transportation Committee Chairman John Wisniewski.
Chairman Wisniewski’s press conference was carried live on CNN wherein he disclosed evidence his committee had collected, under subpoena, demonstrating that Governor Christie’s Deputy Chief of Staff, Bridget Anne Kelly, was involved in the improper and likely illegal lane closures.
The revelations came the day before David Wildstein is set to testify – today at noon. Wildstein has filed suit to prevent himself from being forced to testify. If the subpoena is not quashed by a judge Wildstein will be forced to appear before the Assembly Transportation Committee, under oath.
Meanwhile questions have been raised concerning what laws the Christie Administration may have broken from violating state open records laws to felonies related to misuse of power in administering a bridge. The full extent of any criminal behavior has yet to be revealed.
What has been shown is that either Governor Christie knew about the payback and lied to the public or was lied to by his staff. Christie went with the latter issues a public statement wherein he claimed to have been “misled” by his staff. Claiming “What I’ve seen today for the first time is unacceptable, I am outraged and deeply saddened to learn that not only was I misled by a member of my staff, but this completely inappropriate and unsanctioned conduct was made without my knowledge.”
What Christie knew, and when he knew it, remains an open question.
More evidence has also come out on the consequences of the lane closures. Previously it was reported that ambulance and police had trouble working in the jam, but now we know that a woman later died as the bridge closures delayed medical attention. Emergency Medial Services response times in Fort Lee doubled due to the lane closures according to an EMS coordinator. Something easily foreseeable by those who were playing politics with traffic on the country’s busiest bridge.