A lawyer for Chris Christie’s former ally David Wildstein said the New Jersey governor knew about the closures of local lanes leading to George Washington Bridge to New York City while they were happening.
David Wildstein said he had evidence to show Chris Christie knew about the lane closures, which caused a huge traffic jam at the George Washington Bridge.
Documents suggest the traffic jam was orchestrated by Chris Christie’s aides.
Chris Christie on Friday reiterated he had “no prior knowledge” of the closures.
The scandal has damaged Chris Christie’s standing as a potential candidate for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination.
In a letter to the general counsel of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which manages the George Washington Bridge and other bridges and tunnels between the two states, David Wildstein’s lawyer wrote: “Evidence exists… tying Mr. Christie to having knowledge of the lane closures, during the period when the lanes were closed.”
Alan Zegas’ letter described the lane closure as occurring under “the Christie administration’s order”, and said David Wildstein suggested Chris Christie had not spoken truthfully in a January news conference.
Chris Christie said then that he had been “blindsided” by the revelations his aides were involved in the traffic jam.
“I had no knowledge or involvement in this issue, in its planning or execution,” the governor said.
The four-day September traffic jam in the streets of Fort Lee, New Jersey, which sits at the foot of the bridge, is believed to have been orchestrated by Chris Christie’s aides to punish its Democratic mayor for his refusal to endorse the governor in his 2013 re-election campaign.
The traffic jam was caused when workers closed off two local lanes from Fort Lee onto the bridge, ostensibly to conduct a traffic study.
State legislators and federal prosecutors have launched inquiries into the matter, and Chris Christie has pledged to co-operate.
David Wildstein, a high school friend of Chris Christie, was a senior political appointee on the Port Authority until he resigned in December as the probe into the traffic jam began gathering steam.
In January, Chris Christie sacked Bridget Anne Kelly, his deputy chief of staff.
“Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee,” Bridget Ann Kelly wrote on August 13 to David Wildstein, according to a copy of the email obtained by the news media in January.
“Got it,” David Wildstein replied.
David Wildstein has refused to testify in legislative inquiries into the matter, citing his constitutional protection against self-incrimination.
In a statement released by his office to the news media on Friday, Chris Christie said David Wildstein’s lawyer “confirms what the governor has said all along – he had absolutely no prior knowledge of the lane closures before they happened”.
According to the statement, Chris Christie believed only that a traffic study was under way until he read “otherwise” on the morning of January 8, when his aides’ involvement was revealed in the news media.
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