Christie's Lawyers Clear Him of Wrongdoing Following Bridgegate Probe

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
March 27 2014 12:29 PM

Christie's Lawyers Clear Him of Wrongdoing Following Bridgegate Probe

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New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie speaks during a Town Hall Meeting with families affected by Superstorm Sandy at Belmar Borough Municipal Building on March 25, 2014 in Belmar

Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images

The law firm hired by Chris Christie’s office to investigate the lane closures at the George Washington Bridge after the scandal erupted is out with its final report. The big takeaways, neither of which are a surprise:

Josh Voorhees Josh Voorhees

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

  • The Port Authority official who oversaw the closures says that he informed Christie about them while they were still going on, something the New Jersey governor says he doesn't recall happening (and something that was previously known).
  • The report found nothing to suggest that Christie was personally involved in the scheme and that, once he became aware of it, he made "appropriate inquiries" to figure out who was involved.
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Here's the New York Times with more on who the report—which, again, was commissioned by Christie's office—casts as the villain:

The report puts much of the blame for the closings on Bridget Anne Kelly, who was Mr. Christie’s deputy chief of staff until he fired her in January, and on Mr. Wildstein, a longtime Christie ally.
At one point, according to the report, Ms. Kelly directed an assistant in the governor’s office to delete an email in which Ms. Kelly had expressed pleasure at learning that the mayor of Fort Lee was angry about the closings. “Get rid of that,” she said, according to the report. (The aide complied, but saved a copy.)
The probe offered an unusually detailed glimpse into the culture of Mr. Christie’s office and conduct of his inner circle, which is known for prizing loyalty and discretion. It also claims that Ms. Kelly had become “personally involved” with Bill Stepien, Mr. Christie’s two-time campaign manager and the aide who had previously held Ms. Kelly’s position.

The Port Official who says he told Christie about the closure during a Sept. 11 memorial, David Wildstein, for those who need the refresher, was the official who responded "Got it" ahead of the closures in a reply to an email from Kelly, who had told Wildstein that it was "time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee."

Slate will likely have more on the report later, but for now you can check it out for yourself here.

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