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New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is embroiled in a scandal, as emails published by the media on Wednesday morning revealed that one of his top aides was linked to the sudden lane closures on the George Washington Bridge that left a whole town crippled by traffic. Christie, who had previously denied knowledge of the scheme, said again that he was not involved and vowed to hold those who were responsible.
As reported earlier today, the New York Times and the North Jersey Record published emails between top aide Bridget Anne Kelly and David Wildstein, one of Christie’s appointees to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, that were sent two weeks before the lanes on the bridge were shut down without warning in September.
New Jersey lawmakers have started investigating if Christie’s office had the lanes closed to get back at Fort Lee’s Democratic mayor, who refused to support Christie. The town dealt with heavy traffic for days as a result of the lanes being closed, especially on the first day of school.
NBC News reports that this afternoon, Christie issued a statement, calling the behavior of his staff “unacceptable,” and said that he was seeing the emails for the first time. “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,” he said.
Christie further said, “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.”
One particularly explosive message between Wildstein and an unnamed person came a day after the lane closures started. “I feel badly about the kids. I guess,” the person says, to which Wildstein replies, “They are the children of Buono voters.”
Wildstein was referring to Barbara Buono, Christie’s Democrat challenger in the November election. She issued her own statement today, calling for a federal investigation.
Wildstein has since resigned and was subpoenaed to speak before the state Assembly on Thursday. NJ.com reports that he filed a motion to quash the subpoena.
image: Wikimedia Commons