Former Christie Ally Says Governor Was Aware Of GWB Lane Closures
FORT LEE, N.J.(CBSNewYork) — A former ally of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie now claims that Christie knew about massive tie-ups near the George Washington Bridge as they were happening.
Gov. Christie has insisted from the start that he had no prior knowledge of the lane closures, CBS 2’s Janelle Burrell reported.
However, Christie Port Authority appointee David Wildstein, who stepped down after the scandal broke, said that he has proof that the governor knew what was going on as the closures were happening, CBS 2’s Steve Langford reported.
Christie has continued to deny those allegations.
The governor was met with both cheers and a smattering of boos when he was introduced to speak at a Super Bowl event in Manhattan Saturday afternoon, Langford reported.
On Friday night, Christie refused to address the latest allegations against him as he was surrounded by a crush of cameras when he exited Howard Stern’s birthday bash.
In a letter to the Port Authority, Wildstein’s attorney wrote that evidence exists that ties Christie to having knowledge of the closures.
“Evidence exists as well tying Mr. Christie to having knowledge of the lane closures, during the period when the lanes were closed, contrary to what the governor stated publicly in a two-hour press conference,” the letter said.
In January, Christie denied having knowledge about the closures.
“I knew nothing about this until it started to be in the papers about the closures, but even then I was told it was a traffic study,” the governor said.
The governor issued a statement addressing Wildstein’s allegations.
In the statement a spokesman for Christie said that he had no prior knowledge of the closures before they happened and that he was unaware of Mr. Wildstein’s motivations for closing the lanes to begin with.
“Mr. Wildstein’s lawyer confirms what the governor has said all along – he had absolutely no prior knowledge of the lane closures before they happened and whatever Mr. Wildstein’s motivations were for closing them to being with. As the governor said in a December 13th press conference, he only first learned lanes were closed when it was reported by the press and as he said in his January 9th press conference, he had no indication that this was anything other than a traffic study until he read otherwise the morning of Januray 8th. The governor denies Mr. Wildstein’s lawyer’s other assertions,” the statement said.
State Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D) is the chairman of the legislative committee that is investigating the closures. Wisniewski called the allegations against the governor serious.
“It’s too premature to make judgement but clearly these are serious allegations,” Wisniewski said.
Documents subpoenaed by the committee have shown Wildstein as the man who received an email from former Christie staffer Bridget Ann Kelly that said “time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee.”
Wisniewski has asked why documents tying Christie to the closures have not been produced.
“One of the questions I have are why weren’t these documents produced,” he said, “Now, there could be an explanation. Maybe it’s somebody else’s documents or they recently came into his possession.”
These are not the only allegations against Christie. Hoboken mayor Dawn Zimmer recently claimed that she was threatened with the withholding of Sandy funds if she did not fast-track a downtown development Christie was in favor of.
Both state and federal panels are running separate investigations into the lane closures.
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