Christie blasts Wildstein, New York Times report
February 1st, 2014
09:36 PM ET
3 months ago

Christie blasts Wildstein, New York Times report

Washington (CNN) - After The New York Times published new allegations about Chris Christie and the George Washington Bridge scandal, the New Jersey governor launched a full-scale verbal assault on both the newspaper and the former Port Authority official, David Wildstein, making those claims.

In a response obtained Saturday by CNN, Christie rebuked Wildstein's claim the governor was aware of lane closures leading to the bridge - and jabbed at the ex-appointee's reputation.


Christie also took shots at the The New York Times, slamming the paper for "sloppy" reporting on a letter written by Wildstein's attorney, Alan Zegas, to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

Zegas contends 'evidence exists" that Christie had knowledge of the closures while they were happening.

The newspaper's initial online report Friday on the letter said Wildstein "had the evidence" to prove those allegations, contradicting statements made by Christie at a January news conference. A later version of the story adhered to attorney Alan Zegas' more nebulous claim that "evidence exists" contradicting Christie's assertions.

Christie has said he was unaware of the bridge closure until press accounts surfaced about the traffic snarl in October.

Wildstein resigned amid allegations that Christie appointees had ordered access lanes to the nation's biggest river crossing in Fort Lee closed last year as part of a political revenge scheme.

"Bottom line - David Wildstein will do and say anything to save David Wildstein," the letter from the governor's office said.

Politico first published Christie's response to that letter and the corresponding Times' article.

In a enumerated, point-by-point attack on both Wildstein and the Times bearing the subject line, "5 Things You Should Know About The Bombshell That's Not A Bombshell," Christie savaged Wildstein's personal history, listing newspaper accounts critical of his one-time high school classmate and assailing Wildstein’s credibility.

"David Wildstein has been publicly asking for immunity since the beginning, been held in contempt by the New Jersey legislature for refusing to testify, failed to provide this so-called 'evidence' when he was first subpoenaed by the NJ Legislature and is looking for the Port Authority to pay his legal bills," the Christie letter said.

Wildstein was on the receiving end of text messages from now ex-Christie aide, Bridget Anne Kelly. In one of those messages, Kelly told Wildstein it was, "Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee," to punish Fort Lee’s mayor after he declined to endorse the governor during his re-election campaign.

After a more tempered initial response to Zegas' letter on Friday, the Christie camp's Saturday statement was peppered with the unsparing personal attacks on Wildstein’s public record.

CNN on Saturday reached out to Zegas to respond to the Christie letter, but the attorney did not immediately respond.

Criticizing The New York Times for its coverage of comments made by Zegas in his letter, the Christie camp pointed to edits made to the story - first posted online shortly before 4 p.m. Friday - after its initial publication.

In a statement Saturday night, the Times defended its editorial process.

"We regularly update web stories for clarity as we did in this case," a spokesperson told CNN. "We do not note changes unless it involves an error."


Filed under: Chris Christie • New Jersey • New York Times
soundoff (124 Responses)
  1. rs

    " ….just one e-mail away from disaster…."

    February 2, 2014 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  2. davecu

    Bring it one!
    Bring on THE FACTS and let's see who is zooming whom.
    If the 'Big Guy" is the weasel the accusations make him out to be, indict and convict.
    If the the accusers have evidence and facts, which I doubt, that DON'T prove the 'Big Guy' is the mutt they say, indict and convict.
    New Jersey is the home of Hudson County so most ANYTHING is possible.

    February 2, 2014 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  3. Tampa Tim

    wiken999 – Thanks for the laugh. I always enjoy rants from the Fox uninformed.

    February 2, 2014 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  4. Max

    Mr. Christie still has one last trick up his sleeve to help him avoid public scrutiny, the constant barrage of political attacks, and leave him completely ignored by the media, he'll announce he's switched parties and is now a Democrat.

    February 2, 2014 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  5. Tony in Maine

    Horses everywhere are nervous...

    February 2, 2014 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  6. Thomas

    And now Jeb can emerge as the Honest and Smart Bush .

    Third Times The Charm !

    Jeb Bush and a Latino 2016
    Years of experience , molded by Family Values

    February 2, 2014 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  7. Bob

    The NY Times is so liberal biased that they will make up stuff now, editing stories to remove damaging lines like evidence is there.

    February 2, 2014 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  8. don in albuquerque

    Thomas

    And which family values would those be? Murder of thousands? War crimes? Family values my butt.

    February 2, 2014 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  9. Bill

    @Thomas-

    Dream on. One big problem here – his last name is Bush. No matter how "honest" or "smart" you may think he is, the Bush name is still poisoness for most Americans, especially moderates and independents. Only those who worship at the alter of Faux News and listen to their merry gang of clowns think Bush will be the second coming.

    February 2, 2014 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  10. yogi

    wiken999@gmail.com
    Tampa Tim

    It seems the republican world is collapsing, while the rest of us are moving forward without their help.

    Apparently, Tampa, you haven't been paying much attension to the philanderings of the Democrat party. The republicans are being disected by the media, while the democrats are destroying themselves and our democracy
    from within.
    -----------
    This is what happens when you spin excessively, it is affecting your brain is such a way that your thinking and speaking capabilities are severely handicapped.
    BTW, what are "philanderings of the Democrat party"? Explain without spinning please.

    February 2, 2014 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  11. Maria Rivera-Carvalho

    Jeb honest and smart? After engineering that little fraud in Florida that gave big brother W the chance to destroy our country? Then there are his wife and daughter's criminal records. .. Buena suerte, Jeb.

    February 2, 2014 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  12. NameFrank Deery

    As a Republican Moderate, even I have doubts that Gov Christie was in "the dark" about a four day traffic mess, some of the travelers must have been complaining about
    On E-media and to the local media in general. Hard to believe a controlling, hands-on man like Christie could have missed this
    massive angst at least by day 2. Four days? No! If he knew midway, he could have stopped it, then claim he had no idea. He didn't, But blamed his appointed staff-who are now, highly compensated no doubt, singing! Books, "rehab", apologies coming!

    Yawn!

    February 2, 2014 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  13. Tampa Tim

    I think Thomas was being facetious. ( that' some of two words with a,e,I,o and u in order.)

    February 2, 2014 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  14. Tampa Tim

    Jeb has always been the best politician billionaires could buy.

    February 2, 2014 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  15. Ray Sanders

    Christie is about as popular as Hillary at a Tea Party Convention.

    February 2, 2014 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  16. ChrisM

    Christie is done and he knows it. He is just going thru the motions. Why did he not want to talk to the people he fired?
    BECAUSE Christies staff and admin did not go to the bathroom without asking. And EVERYONE knows it.
    Bye Bye Crispy.

    February 2, 2014 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  17. yogi

    Thomas
    And now Jeb can emerge as the Honest and Smart Bush .

    Third Times The Charm !

    Jeb Bush and a Latino 2016
    Years of experience , molded by Family Values
    -----
    A war criminal as a brother, oh yes those GOP family values, now even with caps.....

    February 2, 2014 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  18. Gee

    So, Wildstien was good enough and competent enough and trustworthy enough to be part of Christie's inner circle clique for years, but now all of a sudden Christie writes him off as a self-serving barely-attached opportunist? Enjoy your last few weeks on the public teat Christie because the clock is running out quick.

    February 2, 2014 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  19. Ron L.

    Governors Christies "circle of trust" has been cracked an America is about to find out those times he berated the average citizen for asking questions he did not want to answer, was nothing compared to the strong arming, and bullying he has been doing behind closed doors. To me two things stand out:
    1) The so-called Democratic support from Mayors was motivated by fear of being blackballed by his administration.
    2) I remember clearly the Governor saying that the President was a very poor manager of his people and that he had
    so much better control of his employees actions. Now he is saying he did not know the details about the "busiest
    bridge in the WORLD being partially blocked off" because he doesn't get into the details of everything going on in
    his administration. He gives his employees "a great deal of freedom to perform their duties". One of these
    statements is a LIE.
    Governor Christies charade is over, he may keep is job "his time" but the "support" from Democrats in New Jersey is diminished or gone, and I believe the national stage is out of the question for at least a decade.

    February 2, 2014 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  20. ChrisM

    Christie BOOed at Super Bowl Event. Hahahahahha. Bye Crispy

    February 2, 2014 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  21. GonzoinHouston

    I hate to ask stupid questions and all, but what exactly is this evidence Wildstein claims to have? I'm satisfied that Christie knew all about the bridge closure, but if anyone wants to talk legal action, hard evidence is required.

    February 2, 2014 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  22. Sean A

    When has the New York Time been known for accuracy? They are always quick to hash out "breaking news", that they do not take time to "fact check." I'm glad Governor Christie blasted them and the disgruntled employee, Mr Wildstein. It is clear, and it was made clear, that Wildstein is only after monetary financing and some type of prestige. I would not be shocked if I don't see a book deal in the making.

    February 2, 2014 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  23. Hayden

    Mr. Christie, do you feel the walls closing in on you? Ranting and denying like a child won't help. You have some followers that will always like you, so now go write a book and be gone. The conservative whacks will fund your retirement. The country will move forward without your contributions.

    February 2, 2014 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  24. Sniffit

    How come the left ignore the thousands that have died in war under Obama ???

    February 2, 2014 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  25. Just Say It

    This entire story is another pathetic example of the Democrats using the Media to do their best to undermine the guy they consider their biggest threat to the White House in 2016. After this guy it will be someone else or they'll claim to have an email purporting to have come from him claiming he was behind the whole thing...Blah Blah Blah

    February 2, 2014 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
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