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'Bridgegate' Scandal, Coverup Reach Close to Christie

Third, Wisniewski said the emails obtained by various news organizations yesterday show that there is no other possible explanation for the lane closures than political retaliation against Sokolich. He cited Wildstein’s email to Kelly assuring her that Baroni had not returned Sokolich’s phone call regarding an “urgent matter of public safety” in Fort Lee: “Radio silence,” Wildstein wrote. “His name comes right after Mayor Fulop,” referring to the newly elected Jersey City Democratic mayor who had also declined to endorse Christie.

A Sokolich text to Baroni the second day of the lane closures read: “Presently we have four very busy traffic lanes merging into one toll booth . . . The bigger problem is getting kids to school. Help.” An emailer to Wildstein whose name was redacted in the transcripts asked: “Is it wrong that I am smiling?” Wildstein replied “No.” “I feel sorry about the kids,” the emailer wrote. “They are the children of Buono voters,” Wildstein wrote back.

As reported last month, Baroni went to Foye to attempt to persuade the New York Democratic appointee not to make a big deal about the politics of the lane closures less than two months before Christie’s election -- an effort that largely succeeded. Despite reporting by The Record and The Wall Street Journal, in particular, it was not until after the election that Foye told Wisniewski’s committee under oath that while he believed laws might have been broken, but that he had no power to fire Wildstein because he was a Christie appointee.

Fourth, Wisniewski said, are the questions regarding Stepien, Drewniak, Samson, Communications Director Maria Comella, and other top Christie aides who appear in various email chains in the thousands of pages of documents turned over. What did they know about the origins of the lane closures from Kelly, Wildstein, and Baroni, and what did or didn’t they tell the governor?

Finally, Wisniewski emphasized that the emails and other documents obtained from Baroni and Wildstein, in particular, contained numerous redactions, and that often the redactions were different, leading him to believe that one or the other or both had failed to fully comply with his subpoena.

The biggest question, he said, is what other Christie administration officials, confidantes, or campaign aides are included in the email chains, and indeed, as one reporter suggested at the news conference, whether any emails were to or from Christie himself.

Wisniewski made it clear that he would issue a subpoena to Christie himself to testify, if the evidence warranted it.

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