TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Newly released notes from lawyers who interviewed New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie say he was “nervous” about finding out if anyone else on his staff was involved in a politically motivated traffic jam scandal.
Christie was one of 75 people interviewed for his own office’s investigation into traffic tie-ups approaching the George Washington Bridge. The notes were released Monday after a legislative panel investigating the lane closings had demanded them.
The notes show Christie pulled together key members of his government and political teams after the scandal broke. Christie’s top political strategists, chief counsel and brother were among those called to the governor’s mansion to find out if anyone else was involved and discuss how to handle the matter.
The taxpayer-funded report issued last month concluded that the governor was not involved in a plot to create gridlock near the George Washington Bridge as part of a political retribution scheme. The report found that former Port Authority official David Wildstein and ex-Christie aide Bridget Kelly were behind the closures.
Democrats blasted the report as incomplete because it does not include interviews with people central to the plot, including fired Christie aide Bill Stepien and Kelly, who sent the text message, “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee.”
Also revealed in the report were details that Christie’s staffers say they moonlighted for the re-election effort and that political support for the governor was closely tracked.
Democratic Assemblyman John Wisniewski, co-chair of the legislative investigation, told WCBS 880’s Paul Murnane he is troubled by some of the revelations.
“The governor’s office in many respects acted as a campaign tool,” Wisniewski told Murnane. “There were mayors that they were not happy with, perhaps because of a non-endorsement. There was specific instructions that those mayors or other elected officials weren’t to get calls back.”
Lead counsel Randy Mastro said getting to the truth was their only incentive, but Wisniewski said he doesn’t buy that argument.
“The Mastro report, while it purports to clear the governor really opens up so many questions that are unanswered,” he told Murnane.
The scandal has been a major distraction for the possible 2016 presidential candidate.
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