Governor Christie told a radio audience Monday night that he was not involved in anyway with the plot to create traffic congestion in Fort Lee last fall. I had “No knowledge, no authority, no planning– nothing to do with this before this decision was made to close these lanes by the Port Authority,” Christie said during his appearance on “Ask the Governor” on NJ 101.5 FM.
It was the first time Christie answered questions about Bridgegate since his initial press conference on January 9, when he announced the firing of his Deputy Chief of Staff Bridget Anne Kelly. Documents show that it was Kelly who sent the “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee” email to David Wildstein, at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
Gov. Christie also confirmed that his office has received a subpoena from federal authorities investigating the September lane closures. Christie says his office is cooperating with the U.S. Attorney’s Office subpoena.
On Friday, Wildstein the Christie appointee to the Port Authority said through his attorney that “evidence exists” that show Christie was aware of traffic problems as they were happening. Wildstein’s assertions do not goes as far as saying the Governor had prior knowledge of the plan or was involved.
Christie says he may have heard about traffic tie-ups in Fort Lee when they were going on last September, but that it didn’t register with him as a major issue if he did.
He says a news report several days after the lanes were reopened got his attention and he asked staffers to look into it. The report indicated that the head of the Port Authority did not authorize the closings.
Monday was also the deadline for the Governor’s office, key members of Christie’s staff, and several executives at the Port Authority to turn in documents subpoenaed by a New Jersey legislative panel.
An attorney for Bridget Kelly says the former aid to the Governor will not answer questions or provide documents to the panel. In a letter to the legislative committee’s lawyer it stated that Kelly would not comply because the information demanded “directly overlaps with a parallel federal grand jury investigation.
David Wildstein and the Governor’s former campaign manager Bill Stepian are also refusing to answer lawmakers questions.
In addition to a legislative and federal investigations, the Port Authority, the Governor’s office, and a U.S. Senate committee are looking into the lane closures.
The governor’s office is also under fire from the mayor of Hoboken, who has claimed that N.J. Lt. Gov Kim Guadagno threatened to withhold Sandy aid unless the city leader supported a specific development project. The Legislature and U.S. Attorney’s Office are looking into this allegation.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.