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Bridge scandal

Letter: Christie knew about the lane closures

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Gov. Christie addresses reporters in Trenton on Jan. 9, 2014  (MyFoxNY.com) Gov. Christie addresses reporters in Trenton on Jan. 9, 2014 (MyFoxNY.com)
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New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie knew about the lane closures at the George Washington Bridge toll plaza as they were occurred, according to a letter from the lawyer of a former Port Authority official, the New York Times reported Friday.

The former official, David Wildstein, is a high school acquaintance of Christie's. According to emails from a top former staffer of the governor, the lanes were shut down for four days in September 2013 as some kind of political payback to the mayor of Fort Lee.

The email, from Deputy Chief of Staff Bridget Anne Kelly, told Wildstein "Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee."

The letter from Wildstein's lawyer, posted online by the New York Times, reads "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… Mr. Wildstein contests the accuracy of various statements that the governor made about him and he can prove the inaccuracy of some."

The letter does not outline the evidence to back that claim, nor does it purport that Christie knew that the closures were anything but a traffic study, which was the official word at the time.

Christie fired Kelly, saying that she lied to him. He said said that he knew nothing about the lane closures until after they ended, and also said he didn't know about the Kelly's actions until January.

Given that Christie is very much a national political figure and may run for president in 2016, the Democratic National Committee pounced on this latest report.

"Chris Christie said he barely knew David Wildstein. That was untrue. He said he hadn't seen Mr. Wildstein in a long time. That was untrue," DNC Communications Director Mo Elleithee said in a statement. "He's repeatedly said that he had no knowledge of the lane closures. Today's revelations raise serious questions about whether that is true. I know it's Super Bowl weekend and Chris Christie doesn't want to talk about anything but the game, but it looks like he's going to need to change his plans."

Fox 5 has reached out to Christie's office for comment. The administration released a statement Friday evening.

"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," the statement read. "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."

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