Christie aide on trial says she told him of traffic study
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.