U.S. Attorney In New Jersey Opens Inquiry Into Christie Bridge ScandalBy: Tina Volpe - January 9, 2014
Amid all of the recent scandal involving the New Jersey Governor’s aides playing traffic cops with the George Washington Bridge, Chris Christie has finally taken action today. He fired the top aide who was at the center the bridge incident, Bridget Anne Kelly.
The others who were involved, David Wildstein and Bill Baroni, Port Authority appointees and close political associates of Christie, resigned in December.
He obviously scrambled to fire the main political aide involved, just as the announcement came that the U.S. Attorney in N.J. was launching a full on inquiry into the activities involving the intentional traffic jam and Governor Christies’ staff members.
The closure of several lanes on the George Washington Bridge was proven, via emails collected by NorthJersey.com, that the closure was an effort to retaliate against Fort Lee’s Mayor Mark Sokolich (D), who did not endorse Christie for reelection.
“I am embarrassed and humiliated by the conduct of some of the people on my team,” Christie said. “I am who I am, but I am not a bully.”
U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman has opened a probe into the lane closures, his spokesperson Rebekah Carmichael said in a statement.
“The Port Authority Office of Inspector General has referred the matter to us, and our office is reviewing it to determine whether a federal law was implicated,” Carmichael added.
The George Washington Bridge, is one of the busiest in the world, connecting New York City to Fort Lee. The four-day lane closure in September caused hours-long traffic jams and considerable delays to motorists, school buses and ambulances.
This incident is likely to tarnish Christie’s image and national standing as he considers a 2016 bid for the White House.
Christie said at his news conference on Thursday that he had been misled by his staff and knew nothing of the lane closings before they occurred. He also said he was “blind-sided” by the emails.
In the most damning email, Christie aide Bridget Anne Kelly wrote to a Port Authority executive in August, saying: “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee.”
The executive, David Wildstein, replied: “Got it.”
Image via Wikimedia Commons