UPDATE, Friday 3:07 p.m.: The Christie Administration has responded to David Wildstein’s claims:
“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 begin 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, had no indication that this was anything other than a traffic study until he read otherwise the morning of January 8th. The Governor denies Mr. Wildstein’s lawyer’s other assertions.”
Contrary to his claims, New Jersey governor Chris Christie knew about the controversial lane closures on the George Washington Bridge, according to a former Port Authority official and high-school friend of Christie’s, the New York Times reports.
An attorney for David Wildstein, a childhood friend of the governor’s who was appointed to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey with Christie’s blessing, has released a letter indicating that the governor was aware of the closures, and that they occurred at the behest of Christie’s administration.
The letter refers to the order to close the lanes as “the Christie administration’s order” and goes on to add, “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” held earlier this month.
During that press conference — held after Christie fired a top aide over the bridge fiasco — Christie denied knowing about the lane closings, saying, “I had no knowledge in this issue, in its planning or execution, and I am stunned by the abject stupidity that was shown here — regardless of what the facts ultimately uncover … This was handled in a callous and indifferent way.”
Christie’s office had no comment for TheWrap on the Wildstein letter.
Wildstein’s claims would seem to back up documents released earlier this month revealing that Christie deputy chief of staff Bridget Anne Kelly had sent an email to the former Port Authority official reading, “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee.”
Aides for Christie had earlier made an unsuccessful attempt to gain an endorsement from the mayor in Fort Lee.