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Christie knew about lane closings, ex-Port Authority official says

First Published      Last Updated Jan 31 2014 02:41 pm

The former Port Authority official who personally oversaw the lane closings on the George Washington Bridge in the scandal now swirling around Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey said Friday that the governor knew about the lane closings when they were happening, and that he had the evidence to prove it.

In a letter released by his lawyer, the official, David Wildstein, a high school friend of Christie's who was appointed with the governor's blessing at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which controls the bridge, described the order to close the lanes as "the Christie administration's order" and said "evidence exists as well tying Mr. Christie to having knowledge of the lane closures, during the period when the lanes were closed, contrary to what the governor stated publicly in a two-hour press conference" three weeks ago.

"Mr. Wildstein contests the accuracy of various statements that the governor made about him and he can prove the inaccuracy of some," the letter added.

The letter marked the first signal that Christie may have been aware of the closings, something he repeatedly denied during a two-hour press conference in January.

In early January, documents revealed that a deputy chief of staff to Christie, Bridget Anne Kelly, had sent an email to Wildstein saying, "Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee," the town at the New Jersey end of the bridge, where Christie's aides had pursued but failed to receive an endorsement from the mayor.

Christie has denied that he knew before this month that anyone in his administration had been responsible for the lane closings, and his administration has tried to portray it as the actions of a rogue staff member.

The governor fired Kelly. Wildstein, the director of interstate capital projects at the Port Authority, resigned.