TRENTON, N.J. -- A top aide to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is linked through emails and text messages to a seemingly deliberate plan to create traffic gridlock in a town at the base of a major bridge after its mayor refused to endorse Christie for re-election.
"Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee," Christie aide Bridget Anne Kelly wrote to David Wildstein, a top political appointee at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which runs the George Washington Bridge connecting New Jersey and New York City, one of the world's busiest spans.
Kelly wrote the email on Aug. 13, about a month before two of three local access lanes to the bridge were diverted, causing hour-long backups in Fort Lee during the first week of school. The message was among a series of emails and texts obtained by The Associated Press and other news outlets Wednesday that are the clearest sign yet that Christie aides were involved in the lane closures.
Christie, a star in the Republican Party who's considered a possible candidate for president in 2016, has denied that the lane closings were punitive and has said his staff was not involved. After the emails were made public Wednesday, he abruptly postponed a scheduled morning event.
Wildstein, a childhood friend of the governor, has resigned over the lane closings. He is scheduled to testify under oath before a state Assembly committee conducting one of three ongoing investigations into the lane closings.
Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich, a Democrat, originally described the closings as punitive, but later backed off that assertion.
The communications showed an unattributed observation to Sokolich's plead for help on the second day of the closings: "Is it wrong that I'm smiling?"
More Nation & World Headlines
Cop indicted for murder in traffic-stop shooting Will ‘Happy Birthday’ song be free to use soon? Debris linked to missing Malaysian 777 2:15 a.m. Export-Import Bank excluded from highway bill 777 departs Aleutians after emergency landing House approves highway funding bill Taliban leader Mullah Omar dead, Afghans say Administration wants to give prisoners access to Pell grants
Our new comment system is not supported in IE 7. Please upgrade your browser here.