New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s office released a statement Friday responding to allegations from a lawyer representing a former Port Authority official who claimed there is evidence the governor knew about the closure of lanes on the George Washington Bridge last year. Everyone is treating this as a bombshell, but the letter actually helps Christie’s case, according to the governor’s office. (Read the full letter over at the Washington Post.)
“Mr. Wildstein's lawyer confirms what the governor has said all along—he had absolutely no prior knowledge of the lane closures before they happened and whatever Mr. Wildstein's motivations were for closing them to begin with. As the Governor said in a December 13th press conference, he only first learned lanes were closed when it was reported by the press and as he said in his January 9th press conference, had no indication that this was anything other than a traffic study until he read otherwise the morning of January 8th.”
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani largely agreed with this assessment, telling CNN that he wasn’t “sure it’s a bombshell,” adding that the letter “creates a lot of ambiguity, some good for the governor, some that create questions.” At the very least, the carefully worded letter makes it “clear the governor didn’t know about it beforehand, so he didn’t plan it, right?” notes Giuliani. He added that Wildstein may be playing up his hand in order to get immunity from the government.
While the letter released Friday revived the bridgegate scandal, Christie did not seem that concerned when he attended Howard Stern’s birthday party Friday night at the Hammerstein Ballroom in Manhattan. “He was cool and jovial,” notes the New York Daily News, adding that the governor introduced Bon Jovi and even made a little joke about New York.
The letter revealed Friday is clearly not good news for Christie, coming at a time when the bridgegate scandal appeared to falling out of the spotlight. But it’s also far from clear what evidence Wildstein supposedly has to support his claims, points out Politico.