GWB Stunt Believed to Have Violated Federal Laws
In one exchange, a Cuomo appointee to the Port Authority said he believed the closing of the lanes broke federal and state laws
A New Jersey legislative committee investigating the closing of lanes on the George Washington Bridge as apparent political retribution last year has released hundreds more pages of documents. Brian Thompson reports. (Published Friday, Jan 10, 2014)
A New Jersey legislative committee investigating the closing of lanes on the George Washington Bridge as apparent political retribution last year has released hundreds more pages of documents.
In one email exchange, Port Authority Executive Director Pat Foye blasts the closing of the lanes as a "hasty and ill-advised decision" that he believes violated federal and state laws.
"I am embarrassed and humiliated by the conduct of some of the people on my team," Christie said at a news conference at the Statehouse Thursday, a day after the first batch of emails were released that showed an aide green-lighted the lane closures.
The Republican governor said the closing of the lanes, which also caused ambulance delays, was not representative of his style as a person or a politician.
"I am who I am, but I am not a bully," he said.
The messages that emerged Wednesday showed that about three weeks before the lanes were shut down, Bridget Anne Kelly, a Christie deputy chief of staff, emailed David Wildstein, then a Christie appointee at the Port Authority, which controls the bridge.
"Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee," Kelly wrote.
Christie said Thursday that Kelly had been fired "because she lied to me." He said the scandal was his biggest disappointment in public office.
"I had no knowledge or involvement in this issue, in its planning or its execution," he said.
Christie repeatedly said Thursday that he was not aware of his campaign even pursuing the Fort Lee mayor's endorsement, and claimed to have never heard of him until after the bridge scandal.
"This guy was never on my radar," he said.
Who Did What
The unannounced closings caused traffic backups that lasted hours on streets in Fort Lee, where the mouth of the bridge is located. The town's EMS coordinator also said the jams delayed paramedic response times, including for a 91-year-old woman who later died.
The lanes were ordered reopened after four days by Foye, an appointee of Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
The U.S. attorney in Newark is looking into the lane closures, a spokeswoman said Thursday. The state legislature and the Port Authority are also investigating the matter.
Both sets of documents were handed over to the state Assembly's transportation committee after a subpoena.
Wildstein, a childhood friend of the governor, has resigned over the lane closings, as has Christie's top Port Authority deputy, Bill Baroni. Both have hired lawyers.
Published at 3:16 PM CDT on Jan 10, 2014
Copyright Associated Press / NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth