As yet another prosecutor, this time the Manhattan District Attorney, subpoenas records from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey new questions are being raised about the conduct of Governor Chris Christie’s staff in response to the investigation of illegal lane closures on the George Washington Bridge.
Despite a report written by Governor Christie’s lawyers on Governor Christie’s request that cleared Governor Christie, questions remain as to what role both Christie and his staff played in the lane closures as well as efforts to steer the media away from being interested in investigations into the lane closures. Questions that even Christie’s report raises.
According to WYNC the documents actually may help support the case that there was a coverup of Bridgegate by Governor Christie’s aides.
[T]here is another reading of the documents — one that shows the governor’s top aides in the statehouse and his allies and appointees at the Port Authority carefully tracking the scandal that’s come to be known as Bridgegate, working frantically to throw reporters and legislators off the scent and — at key points — informing Christie himself of certain facts about the unfolding mess.
The plan to fool the media really kicks off in September with former State Senator then Port Authority official Bill Baroni’s testimony of a “traffic study” before the New Jersey Assembly Transportation Committee. We now know the lane closures had nothing to do with a traffic study making Baroni’s testimony a fraud that seems to have included participation by other members of the Port Authority staff (for example David Wildstein) as well as Governor Christie’s communications team.
The coverup also seems to have involved former Chairman of the Port Authority David Samson who was alerted on December 3rd by Wildstein by email that Wildstein’s friend, the Port Authority police union chief, had offered a false story to the press saying he had ordered that lane closures. Samson’s participation in any nefarious activity had long been disputed, mostly on the grounds that as a former NJ State Attorney General he would know better, but the email leaves little doubt of his involvement. After the report was issued Samson resigned.
The night of December 3rd Wildstein dined with Governor Christie’s Communications Director Michael Drewniak where Wildstein told Drewniak that Christie knew about the lane closures while they were happening. And that Bridget Kelly and Michael Stepien also knew.
Which, if true, would mean Governor Christie knowingly lied to reporters about not having found out about the lane closures until after the fact. The investigation continues.