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Tuesday, January 15, 2019

By Shawn Boburg, The Record (Hackensack, N.J.)

HACKENSACK, N.J. — An ex-aide to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie at the Port Authority on Friday disputed the governor’s account of his knowledge of the September lane closures on the George Washington Bridge.

In a letter, an attorney for David Wildstein, the Port Authority executive who ordered the lane closures, wrote that “evidence exists … 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, addressed to Port Authority officials who have declined to pay Wildstein’s legal bills, marks the first time that someone within the Christie administration has implicated the governor directly to the scandal.

“Mr. Wildstein contests the accuracy of various statements that the Governor made about him and he can prove the inaccuracy of some,” Wildstein’s attorney, Alan Zegas wrote.

The letter does not specify what evidence Wildstein has, and it does not say whether Christie knew of the reasons for the lane closures. Christie has previously said he believed the closures were part of a legitimate traffic study. Wildstein’s attorney has publicly said his client would tell his side of the story if he was granted immunity from criminal prosecution by New Jersey, New York and the U.S. Department of Justice.

Asked if the U.S. Attorney’s Office was aware of Wildstein’s attorney’s allegations and whether it was investigating Christie’s possible knowledge of the lane closures, spokeswoman Rebekah Carmichael said, “We can’t discuss the specifics of an ongoing inquiry.”

Wildstein went to high school with Christie. The governor recommended him for a newly created position at the Port Authority, director of interstate capital projects, in 2010. Wildstein had a reputation as fiercely loyal political operative inside the bi-state agency. It was Wildstein who orchestrated the lane closures after he received an email from Christie’s deputy chief of staff, Bridget Anne Kelly, that stated: “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee.”

In his press conference just before Wildstein was set to testify for a legislative panel investigating the lane closures, the governor announced that he had fired Kelly and he said he did not have a close relationship with Wildstein. He said he didn’t find out about the lane closures until they were reversed.

“There’s no way that anybody would think that I know about everything that’s going on, not only in every agency of government at all times, but also every independent authority that New Jersey either has on its own or by state — both with New York, with Pennsylvania and with Delaware. So what I can tell you is if people find that hard to believe, I don’t know what else to say except to tell them that I had no knowledge of this — of the planning, the execution or anything about it — and that I first found out about it after it was over.”

The Record newspaper has Port Authority photos showing the governor and Wildstein together on the Sept. 11 anniversary, on the third day of the lane closures.

Christie was asked at a Dec. 13 press conference announcing the resignation of his top Port Authority executive whether the lane closures and the problems they caused in Fort Lee were ever brought to his attention the week the lanes were closed.

“Never. No,” the governor said. He added later that the first time he heard about the issue was when an internal email by the executive director was leaked to the media weeks after the closures. “It was certainly well after the whole thing was over before I heard about it.”

Last week, the Port Authority denied Wildstein’s request that the agency pay for his legal representation as multiple investigations unfold, including one by the U.S. Attorney in New Jersey. The Port Authority’s lawyer wrote to Wildstein that paying his legal bills “would not be warranted under the Port Authority’s by-laws.”

The letter released Friday was a response to that decision.

“I would request that you kindly reconsider the Port Authority’s decision to deny Mr. Wildstein payment of his legal fees and indemnification,” it said, adding that the Port Authority did not offer a reason for the denial.

In an indication of fractures between Christie’s former allies, Wildstein’s attorney also questioned why a request for legal representation by Bill Baroni, Christie’s top executive at the Port Authority, was still under consideration. Baroni, Zegas wrote, told a committee, while not under oath, that the lane closures were part of a traffic study, “answers directly at variance with” the subsequent sworn testimony of the agency’s executive director, Pat Foye.

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11 responses to “Christie Knew About GWB Lane Closures, Lawyer For Port Authority Exec Says”

  1. docb says:

    There seems to be some PARSING of words in this back and forth,,,We have not seen the bottom of this barrel! Please proceed!

  2. FT66 says:

    Fasten your belts folks and get ready to witness the real saga of “bridge-gate” which is yet to start.

  3. daniel bostdorf says:

    I think this states it al:
    Christie: “There’s no way that anybody would think that I know about everything that’s going on, not only in every agency of government at all times, but also every independent authority that New Jersey either has on its own or by state — both with New York, with Pennsylvania and with Delaware. So what I can tell you is if people find that hard to believe, I don’t know what else to say except to tell them that I had no knowledge of this — of the planning, the execution or anything about it — and that I first found out about it after it was over.”…..The Record newspaper has Port Authority photos showing the governor and Wildstein together on the Sept. 11 anniversary, on the third day of the lane closures.”

    What Christie and his dirty trickers have done is straight out of the political “dirty tricks ” playbook Nixon dirty trickster, Roger Stone… Stone believes that “if it walks like watergate, smells like watergate, looks like watergate, and those involved act like its watergate”…

    it’s Watergate part 2.

    Stone believes Christie was behind all of it….

    “STONES RULES:”
    “Unless you can fake sincerity, you’ll get nowhere in this business.” “Politics with me isn’t theater. It’s performance art. Sometimes, for its own sake.” “Always praise ’em before you hit ’em.” “Admit nothing, deny everything, launch counterattack.”

    There may not be a secret recording device….but we have emails and now the “John Dean” moment:

    “The lawyer representing Christie’s former campaign manager Bill Stepien sent a lengthy letter to the legislative panel Friday invoking his client’s constitutional protection against self-incrimination. The letter by attorney Kevin Marino cites an ongoing federal grand jury investigation and states that there’s a possibility that documents Stepien provides “might compel him to furnish a link in the chain of evidence that could be used to ensnare him in the ambiguous circumstances of a criminal prosecution.”

    Christie must resign.

  4. daniel bostdorf says:

    Her is an investigative report that goes to the mindset of Christie and why his propensity for rewarding supporters and punishing others can happen.

    I-Team: Sandy Funds Went to NJ Town With Little Storm Damage
    excerpt:
    Gov.Chris Christie’s administration is again facing questions about how
    Sandy aid was distributed in New Jersey after it was revealed $4.8
    million in relief funds went to help build an apartment tower in New
    Brunswick, a town that saw relatively little storm damage.

    “They’re not spending the money on the people that they’re supposed to be spending,” said Doris Narkum, a storm victim whose family lost their house on the Jersey Shore.

    The developer, a firm called Boraie, boasts the building will have 8,000 square feet of retail space, a parking deck and a fitness center.

    At a ceremonial groundbreaking in May, Christie did not mention how the senior center would benefit Sandy victims, but he did say he considered the project a priority for the seniors of Belleville and spoke about how he personally urged his appointed officials on the phone to approve the financial assistance……”We saw the governor made remarks
    that basically directed his top cabinet officials to make sure this
    development got money. That was really troubling,” Gordon said. After the Sandy aid was approved, Belleville Mayor Raymond Kimble, a Democrat, crossed party lines to endorse Christie’s re-election bid.

    Kimble did not respond to the I-Team’s request for comment…..Another endorsement secured by Christie came from former NBA star Shaquille O’Neal. He has invested with Boraie on other real estate projects.”

    More here: http://www.nbcnewyork.com/investigations/Chris-Christie-Sandy-Aid-Questions-New-Apartment-Tower-Untouched-Storm-242872821.html

  5. daniel bostdorf says:

    More “rats” jumpiong the sinking shipp..

    NJ gov.’s staffer resigns amid probe:

    “Christina Genovese Renna left the governor’s office Friday, the same day former Christie loyalist David Wildstein claimed to have evidence contradicting the governor’s account of a lane closing operation, apparently to create traffic chaos as a political vendetta. ”

    Renna
    reported to Deputy Chief of Staff Bridget Kelly, who apparently set the
    lane closings in motion with an email to Wildstein.”

    read more here:

    http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_CHRISTIE_TRAFFIC_JAMS_RESIGNATION?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2014-02-02-17-27-38

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