Gov. Chris Christie’s office responded Friday evening to claims from a former Port Authority official that the governor knew about the George Washington Bridge lane closings when they were happening.
In the response to a story from The New York Times, Christie’s office says a letter from a former Port Authority official that suggests the governor knew more about the controversial lane closures than he originally admitted merely “confirms what the governor has said all along.”
“Mr. 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," Christie's office said in a statement. "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 January 9th press conference, had no indication that this was anything other than a traffic study until he read otherwise the morning of January 8th. The governor denies Mr. Wildstein's lawyer's other assertions.”
Earlier, The New York Times reported that David Wildstein, in a letter released through his attorney, described the order to close the lanes as “the Christie administration’s order” and said “evidence exists as well tying Mr. Christie to having knowledge of the lane closures during the period when the lanes were closed, contrary to what the governor stated publicly in a two-hour press conference” three weeks ago.
In December, Christie insisted during a Statehouse news conference that he learned about the lane closures from media accounts published after the closures occurred.
In January, during a two-hour news conference, Christie affirmed he “knew nothing about this” until it started to be reported in several newspapers.
“I had no knowledge of this — of the planning, the execution or anything about it — and that I first found out about it after it was over,” Christie said during the Jan. 9 news conference.
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"Christie’s method for coping with scandal has been more complicated. In January, the seemingly-local issue of lane closings on the George Washington Bridge, which created a massive traffic jam in the Hudson River town of Fort Lee, became one of national interest when it was revealed that one of Christie’s closest staffers had ordered them—for what looked like political retribution against a Democratic mayor. The scandal was quickly dubbed 'Bridgegate,' and unfortunately for Christie, it played into his reputation as a bully. Christie's response was to act unlike himself: humble." - Olivia Nuzzi- The Daily Beast
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