By now you may have heard that New Jersey governor Chris Christie is at the center of a fairly unique and bizarre scandal.
The matter began in September of last year with the lane closings that occurred on George Washington Bridge. The justification at the time is that it was done for a “traffic study”. This has yet to pan out and evidence has emerged that there was never a study to begin with and that the resulting traffic jams were orchestrated. The closings backed up traffic for hours, sometimes trapping school buses and emergency vehicles.
The traffic also directly impacted the town of Fort Lee, where traffic onto the bridge was frozen for days. Mayor Mark Sokolich, a Democrat, has even gone so far as to suggest that Christie used the phony study as a means to punish him for not backing his re-election efforts.
An email from Bridget Anne Kelly, Christie’s then-deputy chief of staff, implicated herself and Bill Baroni, former deputy executive director of the New Jersey Assembly Transportation Committee as appointed by Christie as responsible for the closures.
She wrote to him, “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee”, to which Baroni responded, “Got it.”
I think everyone will understand if Chris Christie stays in office through the weekend, what with the Super Bowl and all.
— ANNE LAMOTT (@ANNELAMOTT) February 1, 2014
Every time I see Chris Christie in the news I miss James Gandolfini even more
— ɯnlqploפ ɟɟǝſ (@arcadia_eg0) February 1, 2014
Despite those closely connected to Christie being held responsible and ultimately fired from their positions, the New Jersey governor maintains that he had no knowledge of their plans or actions. However, there may be evidence that contradicts his claims.
Attorney Alan Zegas represents David Wildstein, Christie’s former ally at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Zegas claims that there is evidence that exists, but is seeking protection for his client before anything else is revealed.
Others believe that the actions of Christie and his aides suggests that he was also aware. He and others have invoked their 5th Amendment rights, or the right to not self-incriminate. This includes a resistance to cooperate with subpoenas for evidence.
As investigators continue digging, there is a possibility that a “smoking gun” could appear. And as Christie’s camp tightens up on the lack of cooperation, this seems to be highly likely.
Image via Wikimedia Commons