Christie aide on trial says she told him of traf­fic study

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - LOCAL NEWS - By Michael Bal­samo and Michael Catal­ini

Repub­li­can Gov. Chris Christie ap­proved of a traf­fic study on the Ge­orge Wash­ing­ton Bridge, his for­mer deputy chief of staff tes­ti­fied Fri­day in her crim­i­nal trial, but fed­eral pros­e­cu­tors say it was ac­tu­ally a cover story for a po­lit­i­cal pay­back scheme de­signed to cause traf­fic jams.

Af­ter the con­ver­sa­tion with Christie, Brid­get Kelly sent an email that read “time for some traf­fic prob­lems” to David Wild­stein, the self-de­scribed mas­ter­mind of the plot.

Kelly is ac­cused of plot­ting with Wild­stein and another for­mer Christie ally to close lanes on the bridge, which con­nects Fort Lee and New York, as re­venge against Fort Lee’s Demo­cratic mayor, who wouldn’t en­dorse Christie’s re-elec­tion ef­fort in 2013.

Her com­ments at trial that Christie signed off on the traf­fic study in Au­gust 2013, a month be­fore the clo­sures be­gan, are the lat­est tes­ti­mony in­di­cat­ing Christie knew more about the clo­sures than he let on in the months af­ter­ward.

Christie’s spokesman said in a state­ment Fri­day night he had “no knowl­edge prior to or dur­ing these lane re-align­ment” and “no role in au­tho­riz­ing them.” Spokesman Brian Mur­ray said any­thing “said to the con­trary is sim­ply un­true.”

The scan­dal de­vel­oped just af­ter Christie won re-elec­tion hand­ily and as his na­tional po­lit­i­cal pro­file was ris­ing. It ul­ti­mately weighed down his pres­i­den­tial cam­paign, which ended with a fiz­zle in the pri­mary sea­son af­ter a poor show­ing in New Hamp­shire.

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