New Jersey Governor Christie says he was “embarrassed and humiliated” to find out that he was lied to by one of his top aides about September lane closures on the George Washington Bridge.
******Read transcript of today’s news conference********
Speaking to reporters from the state house this morning, the Governor said he has fired Deputy Chief of Staff Bridget Anne Kelly for her role.
Yesterday, emails and text messages surfaced that showed she called for delays to be manufactured. “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee,” she wrote in an Aug 13 email to David Wildstein, a Christie appointee to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
A few weeks later, Wildstein closed two of three lanes connecting Fort Lee to the heavily-traveled George Washington Bridge, which runs between New Jersey and New York City.
New Jersey Democrats have charged that the lane closures were meant to punish Democratic Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich who refused to endorse Governor Christie’s 2013 re-election campaign.
Christie says knew nothing about Kelly’s efforts to create problems in Fort Lee. “I had no knowledge or involvement in this issue, in its planning or execution'” he said.
The messages do not directly implicate Christie, but they contradicted his assertions that the closings were not punitive and that his staff was not involved.
Christie says he will go to Fort Lee later today to apologize to the mayor.
In another development related to the GWB scandal, the U.S. Attorney in New Jersey Paul Fishman says he is investigating the shutdown.
Fishman says in a statement that his office is “reviewing the matter to determine whether a federal law was implicated.”
Prior to becoming Governor, Christie held the position of U.S. Attorney in New Jersey.
Democrats want more answers
A legislative committee headed by Democrat John Wisniewski, investigating the GWB traffic mess, announced Wednesday afternoon that it has issued a subpoena for David Wildstein, who recently resigned from Port Authority. The committee resumes Thursday at noon.
********Live video of Transportion committee*********
Wisniewski says the documents are shocking and outrageous.”They show government at its worst. Among other things they call into serious question the honesty of this governor and his staff.”
He now says he wonders if this is the tip of the iceberg.”It raises legitimate questions by myself and other members of the legislature. If this could happen at the Port Authority, how else has the government been abused for the political advantage of the governor in other agencies.”
Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich called this week’s revelations a “prime example of political pettiness.” Sokolich says he thinks officials who made the decision in the governor’s office and the Port Authority should resign.
The Associated Press and NewsWorks’ Phil Gregory contributed to this report