Turns Out Christie and the "Bridgeghazi" Official Were Together During the Traffic Fiasco

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Jan. 14 2014 1:07 PM

Christie, Port Official Behind Bridge Closure Were Together During Traffic Fiasco

461570575-new-jersey-gov-chris-christie-leaves-the-borough-hall
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie leaves the Borough Hall in Fort Lee where he apologized to Mayor Mark Sokolich on January 9, 2014 in Fort Lee, New Jersey

Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Chris Christie is set to give his State of the State address this afternoon, where he's expected to use at least a portion of the high-profile speech to address the George Washington Bridge scandal that has threatened to undermine both his second term as governor and his 2016 presidential ambitions. In the meantime, however, the New York/New Jersey media continues to dig around, looking for answers to just what Christie knew and when he knew it. Here's the Wall Street Journal with the latest revelation:

Christie was with the official who arranged the closure of local lanes leading to the George Washington Bridge on Sept. 11, 2013 — the third day of the closures, and well after they had triggered outrage from local officials beset by heavy traffic. It isn’t known what, if anything, Mr. Christie discussed with David Wildstein that day, when the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey official was among the delegation of Mr. Christie’s representatives who welcomed him to the site of the World Trade Center for the commemoration of the 12th anniversary of the terrorist attacks there. ...
Also present with Mr. Christie that day were Bill Baroni, the authority’s deputy executive director, who was helping Mr. Wildstein manage the fallout from the closures among local officials, subpoenaed documents show. Also there was David Samson, the Port Authority chairman and close Christie ally, who has said he didn’t learn of the lane closures and traffic in Fort Lee, N.J., until an email from a New York port official ordered the lane closures reversed.
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Wildstein, for those who need the refresher, was the official who responded "Got it" in a reply to an email from Christie's since-fired deputy chief of staff Bridget Kelly, who had told Wildstein that it was "time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee."

Neither Christie nor Wildstein's office has said what the two men discussed that day, and the fact that the two men were at the same place at the same time isn't exactly a smoking gun. Still, it certainly raises red flags given that it was only last week that Christie claimed that he had not encountered Wildstein "in a long time," adding "You know, I could probably count on one hand the number of conversations I've had with David since he worked at the Port Authority."

***Follow @JoshVoorhees and the rest of the @slatest team on Twitter.***

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

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