Lawyer: Evidence contradicts Christie on closures

TRENTON (US), Feb 1: A former loyalist of Republican presidential prospect Chris Christie said there is evidence that contradicts what the New Jersey governor has said about a traffic jam scandal that rocked his administration.

Christie’s office insisted the governor told the truth.

Allegations that his aides closed lanes on the busy George Washington Bridge that connects New Jersey to Manhattan as political revenge against a local mayor have complicated Christie’s prospects of a presidential run. Christie had said he knew nothing about the motive behind the lane closures until much later.

But the lawyer for David Wildstein, a longtime friend of Christie who was the No. 2 official at the agency that runs the bridge, said in a letter yesterday that his client “contests the accuracy of various statements that the governor made about him and he can prove the inaccuracy of some.”

Attorney Alan Zegas also said there is evidence that suggests the governor knew about the closures as they happened in September. Christie, who has been urged by Republicans to run for president in 2016, denied in a news conference three weeks ago that he knew of a political motive for the closures until early January.

Christie’s office reiterated yesterday that the Governor did not know the closures were anything but part of a traffic study until Jan 8.

Christie cruised to re-election in the predominantly Democratic state in November. The lane closures and the gigantic traffic-jams that ensued were retaliation against the mayor of Fort Lee, the town that sits on the New Jersey side of the bridge, for not endorsing Christie. The governor fired his deputy chief of staff after emails between her and Wildstein showed she orchestrated the lane closures as payback against the mayor.

US federal prosecutors escalated their criminal investigation into the matter this week, subpoenaing Christie’s re-election campaign and the state Republican leadership.

Wildstein has since resigned from his job at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

Zegas and Christie’s office did not immediately return messages seeking comment. (AGENCIES)