Christie’s office clears him of any link to bridge lane closures, published report says
March 24th, 2014
04:59 PM ET
5 months ago

Christie’s office clears him of any link to bridge lane closures, published report says

(CNN) - Attorneys hired by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s office have found no evidence linking him to “plotting or directing” traffic jams at the foot of the George Washington Bridge that are at the center of a political scandal roiling his administration, the New York Times reported.

A state legislative investigative committee and the U.S. Attorney’s office are looking into whether the tie-ups in Fort Lee were set in motion deliberately by top Christie appointees to punish that town’s Democratic mayor for not endorsing the Republican’s reelection.

Christie’s office did not confirm the Times Sunday article that cited people familiar with the internal review, but it did issue a statement saying that the legal team had full cooperation from Christie and his administration.

The statement said Christie handed over his iPhone and provided access to his government and personal email accounts. Investigators also had access to emails and cell phones from current and former administration officials.

The traffic scandal has called into question Christie’s forceful governing style that has resonated with Garden State voters and clouded prospects for a potential run for president in 2016.

Christie's standing in national opinion polls among potential Republican White House contenders has tumbled since the scandal, which simmered during the later stages of the fall campaign, and broke wide open in January with the release of potentially damaging emails between top appointees.

No one has accused the governor of any wrongdoing. Christie has said previously that he knew nothing about the traffic jams over several days in September until they were over, and only from media reports. He also denied having any knowledge of political mischief by his staff or other appointees.

A top staffer in his office in Trenton, his former campaign manager, and a handful of Christie-appointed officials from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey have been caught up in the mess.

No one has been accused of wrongdoing as part of any investigation, but the legislative committee has subpoenaed documents and other materials from a number of Christie aides and appointees, and its investigation is ongoing.

The internal investigation of Christie was led by Randy Mastro, a former New York City deputy mayor under Rudy Giuliani and a litigator with a reputation for being a tough opponent who will “fight you until the end,” according to the website for the law firm Gibson & Dunn.

Mastro and four other attorneys from the firm have been working on the internal review that the Times reported has cost $1 million so far.

New Jersey Assemblyman John Wisniewski, co-chair of the special investigative panel looking at the Christie matter and a Democrat, raised some doubts about the conclusions of the internal review.

He said questions remain unanswered, specifically by former Christie Deputy Chief of Staff Bridget Kelly, whose purported email to a Port Authority official weeks before the lane closures - “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee” – has yet to be explained to the committee, according to Wisniewski.

“If we don’t know why she sent that email, if we don’t know who gave her the authority to send that email, if we don’t know what she thought she may be accomplishing by sending that email, then we can’t have a complete picture of what happened here,” Wisniewski told the New Jersey Star-Ledger.

Kelly is fighting a subpoena from the committee in court.

Mastro’s report on the internal review is expected to be released in the near future.


Filed under: Chris Christie • New Jersey
soundoff (30 Responses)
  1. FrankinSD

    So Governor Crispy has, in effect, cleared himself. Nice. We'll see if the U.S. Attorney is impressed.

    March 24, 2014 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  2. carlos

    OK, stop all the investigations. The governors office exonerated him!

    March 24, 2014 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  3. Tom

    How convenient!

    March 24, 2014 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  4. Chris-E...al

    N0 news dems just want to waste and give away some of our cash and force him to spend his ! 0ldest dem trick in the books . N0 news .

    March 24, 2014 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  5. Ron L

    HELLO.. the issue is not whether or not he KNEW IT, when it happened. The issue (to me) is how he (Christie) used to say the President should have known exactly what was happening in the IRS and Benghazi the MOMENT it was happening!! In fact Christie made a derogatory statement about the Presidents POOR leadership skills. Now we find out he doesn't know what his TOP and CLOSESS aids were doing in his OWN state / office!! He is a HUGE blowhard with an ego that is much larger than his skill sets.

    March 24, 2014 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  6. Lynda/Minnesota

    "Christie's Staff Clears Him Of Any Link To Bridge Scandals."

    Yeah. Well ... OK, then.

    Meanwhile, in the real word ..............................

    March 24, 2014 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  7. don in albuquerque

    My, oh my. Why didn't the white house just clear Obama and Hillary, and then, very obviously, Issa would have just had to get out of town. If you are accused of robbing a bank or even murder (for murder though you can now use "stand your ground excuse) just say "I didn't do it". Have your mommy write a note, and your home free!!

    March 24, 2014 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  8. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Attorneys hired by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s office have found no evidence linking him to “plotting or directing” traffic jams at the foot of the George Washington Bridge
    -------------------------------------------------
    I can't stop laughing long enough to comment on this bs!
    What did the U.S.Attorney's office and the state legislative committee charged with THE REAL investigation have to say about these clown's findings?
    Bwahahahahahahhahahahaha!
    Oh Lordy!

    March 24, 2014 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  9. plain and simple

    Republicans will use the excuse Christie is so busy taking care of the people of New Jersey and the aftermath of hurricane Sandy....that he didn't know what his staff was up to. Now with Obama it's different,he is busy playing golf or vacationing! It's always something!!! Damn I need a job in politics!!!

    March 24, 2014 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  10. Thomas

    You have to love America

    Attorneys hired by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s office , at a cost of over a million dollars , paid for by the tax payers of New Jersey , find the Governor clean and clear of all implications .
    The internal investigation of Christie was led by Randy Mastro, a former New York City deputy mayor under Rudy Giuliani and a litigator with a reputation for being a tough opponent who will “fight you until the end,” according to the website for the law firm Gibson & Dunn.

    It's so funny that Chris Christie used to lobby for Bernard Lawrence "Bernie" Madoff .

    March 24, 2014 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  11. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Lynda Minnesota
    Hey girl! How was your "Nana" weekend playing trucks with your grandson?!
    Can you believe the headline?
    So does this mean that if you're accused of wrongdoing your attorney can conduct an investigation, say that no wrongdoing was found on your part and everybody can save themselves the court and attorney's fees and go home?
    Is that what this means?
    What kind of bull is this?
    Did we think that attorneys hired by him were going to find him guilty?....of anything?

    March 24, 2014 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  12. Ol' Yeller

    Whew! That was close.
    One down,(at least) two (more) to go.

    Methinks he got the easy one out of the way first.

    Ron L- good point. Obama is being held accountable by all the righties for not knowing something that happened over seas at a foreign embassy, immediately rescuing everyone, while at the same time doing an interview to inform the American people of what was happening, what he was doing about it, etc...
    christiie say... "i dunno', some blond chick, never met her. Some other geek I knew in high school, and some guy they call my 'campaign manager', apparently did some stuff, I dunno... I didn't know nothin', I didn't ask nothin', I just fired 'em all.
    fugetaboutit.

    republicants- Sounds perfectly reasonable to me.

    March 24, 2014 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  13. Lynda/Minnesota

    Dominican mama 4 Obama
    @ Dominican mama:

    Lynda Minnesota
    Hey girl! How was your "Nana" weekend playing trucks with your grandson?!
    Can you believe the headline?
    So does this mean that if you're accused of wrongdoing your attorney can conduct an investigation, say that no wrongdoing was found on your part and everybody can save themselves the court and attorney's fees and go home?

    Pretty much ... yes? It had me laughing as well. Oh, and yes, I had a lot of fun with my little man. He's a riot and a half. In one short year off to school he goes. Boy do they grow up fast. Tonka trucks and making roads in mounds of oatmeal. A mess well worth cleaning up when the playing is done. No doubt we'll eventually make it back out to the sandbox. Or so he insists. Meanwhile, says he: "that's what oatmeal is for ..." !

    March 24, 2014 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  14. 1108

    The DOJ investigating the DOJ about Fast and Furious –
    Obama donor investigating the IRS

    Bot that's ok, right?

    March 24, 2014 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  15. Randy, San Francisco

    How can attorneys who are hired by the governor's office conduct a fair and independent investigation when they can be fired by the person they are investigating? Good thing the US Attorney's office and legislative investigative committee are conducting investigations free from bullying by the governor's office.

    March 24, 2014 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  16. soundpam

    Breaking News: Attorneys for John Wilkes Booth clear him of any involvement in Lincoln's murder!!!

    Of course they cleared Christie – that's what they were hired for!

    March 24, 2014 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  17. Gurgyl

    -–do you believe these bed-time kids stories?????

    March 24, 2014 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  18. just me

    So did he know about this sham self investigation while it was happening? Or was he completely shocked and surprised when he just now found out about it?

    March 24, 2014 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  19. Chris-E...al

    Don Fr NM @ Do you visit area 51 often ? 0r do you pick sticky herb in the desert ? cool man wow .

    March 24, 2014 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  20. Hugo

    This is almost as funny as the Attorney General Eric Hold-one Holder investigating the IRS scandal, or wait, what about the Fast and Furious, that is another gut wrencher or wait wait, how about that CIA directive on the talking points or Susan Rice parroting the "it's was a movie" on every news show for a week...God Lord, this is truly some funny stuff as long as it isn't your life depending on it!

    March 24, 2014 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  21. TNPatriot

    My name is Tony Soprano...er...uh..I mean Chris Christy, Tony is my idol, sorry for that slip up. Anyhow, some people who are jealous of my immense .......talents... have dreamed up this conspiracy idea. The people on my staff responsible for this 'game' were really part of a deeply planted democratic sleeper cell, that were activates when I was getting ready take the presidency. Those investigations by the 'democrats' is political trickery, and the US Attorney's office....come on, I used to be one and ......never mind. Since I want to help the voters, you know, so they can elect me Prez.... I felt it my duty to bring this to a swift close. So I called these lawyer buddies of mine, I did them a lot of favors (he he) when I wuz US Attorney, and I told them that I wanted them to investigate ME. I instructed them that they would find me innocent of everything and in return I would reward them with $1M. Oh, no...not MY money, ......I'm the "GOV', and those ungrateful shleps, the taxpayers need to foot the bill. And when those lawyers donate to my next campaign, they will only be doing it cause they think that I am the most hon......hon.....hon.......(clears throat) honest....yea honest...that's the deal!

    March 24, 2014 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  22. Dee

    Well what else would you expect they would not find him guilty. They are probably paid dearly with all the money he has afforded those close to him.

    What matters is what the US Attorney has to say now, where is his leadership skills since he was so critical of the President.

    March 24, 2014 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  23. Mike

    Romney and Trump are serious examples of how being born into wealth is self perpetuating and talent and smarts aren't required.

    March 24, 2014 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  24. Marie MD

    Let me get thus straight. His minions and shoe polishers don't blame him.
    I find it sooooo hard to believe because it's something he wouldn't just do but set in motion.
    His attorney found him not guilty. Something smells real funny in NJ!

    March 24, 2014 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  25. S. B. Stein

    Why should we believe this? Is there anything from outside groups that confirm this? Did they talk to everyone? If they didn't, then there is no way that this is a fully verifiable report.

    March 24, 2014 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
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