New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie responded this afternoon to email exchanges made public earlier in the day linking a top aide to the George Washington Bridge lane closure scandal that has been under investigation.
“What I’ve seen today for the first time is unacceptable. I am outraged and deeply saddened to learn that not only was I misled by a member of my staff, but this completely inappropriate and unsanctioned conduct was made without my knowledge. One thing is clear: this type of behavior is unacceptable and I will not tolerate it because the people of New Jersey deserve better. This behavior is not representative of me or my Administration in any way, and people will be held responsible for their actions,” the governor said in a statement.
As CBS 2’s Jessica Schneider reported, Christie had said previously that no one in his office or his campaign knew about the lane closures back in September.
But the email and text messages between Christie’s deputy chief of staff and the governor’s appointees to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey show aseemingly deliberate effort to create traffic gridlock by shutting Fort Lee’s access to the George Washington Bridge after its mayor refused to endorse Christie for re-election.
“Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee,” Christie aide Bridget Anne Kelly wrote to David Wildstein, a top political appointee at the Port Authority, which runs the George Washington Bridge, one of the world’s busiest spans.
“Got it,” Wildstein reportedly replied before ordering the closures.
Kelly wrote the email on Aug. 13, about a month before two of three local access lanes to the bridge were diverted, causing hour-long backups in Fort Lee during the first week of school.
“They are the children of Buono voters,” Kelly joked – referring to Democratic gubernatorial candidate Barbara Buono who was challenging Christie.
Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich, a Democrat, said the now-public documents have confirmed his suspicions.
“I didn’t want to jump in to this arena because I’ve got enough to do in Fort Lee. But it’s now pretty clear that there’s intentionality involved,” he told WCBS 880′s Levon Putney.
Read more at CBS NEW YORK.