The Christie administration got its hand caught in the cookie jar this week. Documents provided to the press show Gov. Chris Christie’s Deputy Chief of Staff Bridget Anne Kelly giving the signal to a Port Authority official to shut down access lanes from Fort Lee to the George Washington Bridge in order to get back at Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich. “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee” wrote Kelly to David Wildstein, Interstate Projects Director at the authority.
The emails and texts also mention two-time Christie campaign manager Bill Stepien and chief spokesman Michael Drewniak, indicating that they knew about the controversy if not before, then certainly shortly after the incident. This was at the same time that Christie was scoffing at the notion that his administration had anything to do with the lane closures. The governor now says he was misled by a member of his staff, presumably Kelly, and is outraged.
The fallout and investigation promise to go on for some time, since “Bridgegate,” as it is being called, has become a national story. Trenton was packed with national press yesterday. Today promises more of the same, with hearings scheduled at the Statehouse and in Mercer County Superior Court, where Wildstein is attempting to quash his subpoena to testify. With calls for other investigations by the U.S. Attorney’s office and the U.S. Congress, the story could last a long time.