Chris Christie's 'traffic problems': Did New Jersey Governor lie over George Washington Bridge lane closures? Now the truth will out

 

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie faced more political peril on Monday as the deadline arrived for thousands of pages of internal documents to be submitted to a committee in the state legislature investigating the motives behind his administration throttling access to the George Washington Bridge last year.

Subpoenas had been issued to 18 officials from Mr Christie’s inner circle and the top echelons of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey that manages the bridge. It may be weeks before their contents are made public. Investigators will be striving to determine whether the Governor has been truthful in asserting he knew nothing of the lane closures and whether, as has been claimed, they were ordered as part of a political vendetta.

It meanwhile emerged that one of the aides targeted by the subpoenas, Christina Genovese Renna, has resigned from the Governor’s office where she used to report directly to the former Deputy Chief of Staff, Bridget Kelly, who was fired last month after media outlets uncovered a message she had sent to a colleague at the Port Authority, David Wildstein, that said, “time for some traffic problems” in Fort Lee, on the New Jersey end of the bridge.

The scandal, which has already damaged Mr Christie’s hopes of claiming the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, triggered new headlines at the weekend after lawyers for Mr Wildstein, who resigned his post in December, said that “evidence exists” showing that the Governor was aware of the lane closures, which snarled traffic in Fort Lee for several days, while they were ongoing. He has repeatedly said he was not.

In his statement, the lawyer said that Mr Christie had “direct knowledge of the lane closings, during the period when the lanes were shut, contrary to what the Governor stated publicly”. It did not, however, make any claims as to whether the Governor knew of the reasons for closures, which Democrats say were engineered by Ms Kelly and Mr Wildstein to punish the Democrat Mayor of Fort Lee for refusing to support Mr Christie’s re-election bid last year.

The new claims by Mr Wildstein prompted New Jersey’s leading newspaper, The Star-Ledger, to argue that Mr Christie should resign as Governor or be impeached immediately should such evidence indeed exist showing he knew of the closures at the time and has been lying about it. He was sworn in for a second term last month.

In the midst of the weekend brawl, some in the Republican Party spoke up for the embattled Governor. “So far, there’s no evidence to suggest that he’s not telling the truth,” Rudy Giuliani, the former New York Mayor and presidential candidate, said. “If he’s lying, it’s a really bad situation. If he’s not lying, then something very unfair is being done to him.”

Read more:

Chris Christie ‘intimidated’ me, says Olympics legend Carl Lewis

US Sketch: Chris Christie builds bridges in state address, but row lingers on

Chris Christie's story had better add up

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: English Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is an excellent, large partially ...

Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Primary Teacher

£100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...

Ashdown Group: Lead Web Developer (ASP.NET, C#) - City of London

£45000 - £50000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Lead Web Develo...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee