The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Christie says he had no role in lane closures even if he may have heard about traffic problems

  • Print
In this Jan. 9, 2014 file photo, David Wildstein speaks during a hearing at the Statehouse in Trenton. According to a letter released Friday, Jan. 31, 2013 by a lawyer for the former Christie loyalist who ordered lane closures near the George Washington Bridge in September 2013, attorney Alan Zegas said his client “contests the accuracy of various statements that the governor made about him and he can prove the inaccuracy of some.

Enlarge Image

In this Jan. 9, 2014 file photo, David Wildstein speaks during a hearing at the Statehouse in Trenton. According to a letter released Friday, Jan. 31, 2013 by a lawyer for the former Christie loyalist who ordered lane closures near the George Washington Bridge in September 2013, attorney Alan Zegas said his client “contests the accuracy of various statements that the governor made about him and he can prove the inaccuracy of some." Wildstein was forced to resign from his position at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey amid a scandal that he allegedly ordered the lane closures as retribution for Ft. Lee's mayor not supporting Christie in his re-election bid. The lane closures caused massive congestion in the city from Sept. 9 to Sept 13, 2013. (AP Photo/Mel Evans, File)

TRENTON, N.J. - Gov. Chris Christie said Monday he may have heard about congestion on the George Washington Bridge last fall but it didn't register as anything more than regular traffic jams because he wasn't aware his aides had ordered lanes blocked, apparently for political retribution.

The Republican governor and possible 2016 presidential candidate fielded questions during an hour-long radio call-in program for the first time in three weeks about a scandal that has engulfed his administration and threatened to upend any political ambitions.

Christie also acknowledged during the program that his office has been subpoenaed by federal law enforcement officials conducting a criminal investigation into the bridge scandal. Christie said his office would fully comply with the document request.

Christie, 51, reiterated during the radio show that he did not know about the planning or execution of the lane closings near the bridge in Fort Lee. He disputed the account of a former loyalist, who said Friday there was evidence the governor knew about the closings while they were happening over four days in September, which is earlier than Christie has acknowledged.

Christie said an email from Patrick Foye, the executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the agency that runs the bridge, made him realize the traffic gridlock may not have been routine. That email was forwarded to a top Christie aide on Sept. 13, the day Foye ordered the lanes reopened.

"I know prior to (the Foye email) there were press accounts about traffic issues up there, and if I read that or someone said something ... it wouldn't have been meaningful to me because I didn't know there was any problem up there because I didn't know we had actually closed lanes up there before that," Christie said on TownSquare Media's "Ask the Governor" show.

"Nobody has said I knew about this before it happened, and I think that's the most important question," he said.

Christie has been asked before when he learned of the lane closures, which has cost five people close to the governor their jobs. During a Dec. 13 news conference, he said, "It was certainly well after the whole thing was over before I heard about it."

Monday was the first time Christie took questions since David Wildstein, Christie's No. 2 man at the Port Authority before he resigned amid the scandal, contradicted the governor's accounting of the lane closings. Christie referred to the dispute over what he knew when as "a game of gotcha."

Meanwhile, a former Christie aide who set the lane closings in motion with an email to Wildstein has invoked her right not to incriminate herself and is refusing to co-operate with a subpoena from a legislative committee looking into the scandal and trying to unravel how high up Christie's chain of command the lane closing order went and whether the operation was meant to punish a Democratic adversary.

The lawyer for former Deputy Chief of Staff Bridget Kelly sent a letter Monday to the committee's lawyer saying she would not comply because the information demanded "directly overlaps with a parallel federal grand jury investigation."

Christie fired Kelly last month after learning of her email saying, "time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee" less than a month before the lane closures.

Former Christie campaign manager Bill Stepien made a similar argument last week and is also not complying with a subpoena.

The special legislative investigative committee said Monday that it had begun receiving documents it requested in response to 20 subpoenas it issued last month.

Assemblyman John Wisniewski, the co-chairman of the joint legislative panel, told The Associated Press that some deadline extensions were granted. The requests of others who were asked to produce documents on a rolling basis were also being accommodated.

___

Mulvihill reported from Haddonfield, New Jersey. Associated Press reporters Ken Thomas in Washington and Tom Beaumont in Iowa contributed.

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

In the Key of Bart: Can’t It Be Nice This Time?

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Geese take cover in long grass in the Tuxedo Business Park near Route 90 Wednesday- Day 28– June 27, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • horse in sunset - marc gallant

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

What are you most looking forward to this Easter weekend?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google