Former Port Authority official says he has evidence that Christie knew about bridge closures

BY Joshua Barajas  January 31, 2014 at 6:30 PM EST

Christie

Updated 6:00 p.m. EST | Responding to the letter by former Port Authority official David Wildstein, Chris Christie’s office released a statement late Friday, saying that the letter “confirms what the governor has said all along.” The full statement is below:

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. 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.

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A former Port Authority official said Friday that he had evidence that proved that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie knew about the lane closings that ensnarled traffic on the George Washington Bridge over a four-day period in September, the New York Times reports.

David Wildstein, identified in the Times report as a high school friend of the governor, released a letter through his lawyer that described the lane closures as “the Christie administration’s order” and said that “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” in early January.

Last month, the governor said he was “blindsided” by the bridge scandal, when correspondence among his closest aides suggested that they orchestrated the traffic jam to punish the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee, N.J. for not endorsing Republican Christie’s reelection.

“I had no knowledge or involvement in this issue, in its planning or its execution,” he said.

Wildstein, who ordered the closures, does not say whether Christie knew the lane closures were an act of political retribution.

Christie’s office told Talking Points Memo on Friday that it had no comment on Wildstein’s letter.