You choose, we deliver
If you are interested in this story, you might be interested in others from The Journal Gazette. Go to www.journalgazette.net/newsletter and pick the subjects you care most about. We'll deliver your customized daily news report at 3 a.m. Fort Wayne time, right to your email.

U.S.

  • Farmers ordered to report pig virus infections
     MILWAUKEE – The federal government is starting a new program to help monitor and possibly control the spread of a virus that has killed millions of pigs since showing up in the U.S. last year.
  • Police: Man ate pot candy before shooting wife
    A Denver man accused of killing his wife while she was on the phone with a 911 dispatcher ate marijuana-infused candy before the attack, according to search warrants released Thursday.
  • Homeland Security reissues immigrant asylum rules
    The Homeland Security Department has reissued asylum rules to immigration officials amid concerns that they are misinterpreting how to decide which immigrants get to see a judge for asylum claims.
Advertisement

Christie aide linked to jams

Messages link top worker to traffic snarls in foe’s city

Christie

– A political dirty-tricks investigation of Gov. Chris Christie’s inner circle broke wide open Wednesday with the release of emails and text messages that suggest one of his top aides engineered traffic jams in a New Jersey town last September to punish its mayor.

An “outraged and deeply saddened” Christie responded by saying he was misled by his aide, and he denied involvement in the apparent act of political payback.

The messages were obtained by the Associated Press and other news organizations Wednesday amid a statehouse investigation into whether the lane closings that led to the tie-ups were retribution against the mayor of Fort Lee for not endorsing Christie for re-election last fall.

“Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee,” Christie deputy chief of staff Bridget Anne Kelly wrote in August in a message to David Wildstein, a top Christie appointee on the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

“Got it,” Wildstein replied. A few weeks later, Wildstein closed two of three lanes connecting Fort Lee to the heavily traveled George Washington Bridge, which runs between New Jersey and New York City.

The messages do not directly implicate Christie in the shutdown. But they contradict his assertions that the closings were not punitive and that his staff was not involved.

Democrats seized on the material as more evidence that the potential Republican candidate for president in 2016 is a bully.

The messages “indicate what we’ve come to expect from Gov. Christie – when people oppose him, he exacts retribution. When people question him, he belittles and snidely jokes. And when anyone dares to look into his administration, he bullies and attacks,” Democratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz said.

In a statement issued late Wednesday, Christie said: “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.”

“People will be held responsible for their actions,” he added, but gave no details. Kelly had no immediate comment.

Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich called it “appalling” that the traffic jams appear to have been deliberately created.

“When it’s man-made and when it was done with venom and when it was done intentionally, it is, in my mind, the prime example of political pettiness,” he said.

Democratic state Assemblyman John Wisniewski, who has been leading the investigation, said the material in the documents is “shocking” and “outrageous” and calls into question the honesty of the governor and his staff.

The tie-ups occurred between Sept. 9 and Sept. 13. Port Authority officials later said the closings were part of a traffic study. But no study has been produced.

As the controversy heated up over the past few weeks, Wildstein resigned, as did Port Authority deputy executive director Bill Baroni, another Christie appointee.

Advertisement