Christie blasts Wildstein, New York Times report
February 1st, 2014
09:36 PM ET
9 years 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.

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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. Sid Prejean

    Perhaps the saddest part of this saga is Gov. Christie's continued claim that he did not know anything about the situation at the GWB/Fort Lee until after it was over. The situation was reported in all the major print media in the state. I don't know who did what to whom, but for him to claim total ignorance seems a direct admission that he just doesn't pay attention to events in his own state. Time for a new story.

    February 1, 2014 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  2. Winston Smith

    I suppose there'll be some that believe he's as innocent as a fresh laid egg, but he's a politician so be careful what you believe.

    February 1, 2014 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  3. yogi

    Christie hopes that if you scream very loud people will think that your story is true, it doesn't matter because the bridge closure was a horrible pay back whether Christie knew about it or not. The meanness in the GOP knows no boundaries.

    February 1, 2014 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  4. S. B. Stein

    I wouldn't expect that Christie would do anything less. Of course he is going to call anything pointing to him being involved as a lie. Why should we think that Christie would all of a suddenly admit that he was involved?

    February 1, 2014 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  5. srcactus

    The food fight continues, while the jury deliberates.

    February 1, 2014 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  6. Thomas

    "Bottom line – Chris Christie will do and say anything to save Chris Christie," the letter from the governor's office said.

    Chris Christie should have stayed Bernard Madoff lobbyist .

    February 1, 2014 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  7. luke,az

    Christie is done. The rats are jumping ship and one of them will get immunity.

    February 1, 2014 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  8. rc

    I saw "Christie" and "bombshell" on the home page and thought this would be about the beautiful Christie Brinkley at 60...

    February 2, 2014 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  9. mungo

    So much inside stuff is coming out about Christie I have to believe it's a hit job by the Republicans leadership themselves.

    based on recent press report the GOP is clearing the filed for Jeb Bush.

    February 2, 2014 12:46 am at 12:46 am |
  10. Jeeves

    I'm not fat, I'm big-boned.

    February 2, 2014 12:53 am at 12:53 am |
  11. ardvrk

    Gotta love Republiturd's witty comebacks: "Is NOT a bombshell!"

    Here's mine back at 'em: "Is too!"

    February 2, 2014 01:11 am at 1:11 am |
  12. survivor

    seems more like he's being voted off the island by the people that want to run for president.

    February 2, 2014 01:35 am at 1:35 am |
  13. Government Waste Rules

    What's more important are the allegations of withholding Superstorm Sandy funds from victims. Some bad traffic is nothing compared to the money.

    February 2, 2014 01:58 am at 1:58 am |
  14. Maripil

    Christie will say anything to save his ass! All of his aides are now on scrambling mode to take the fifth to save their souls. He should resign as his leadership is so corrupt!

    February 2, 2014 03:46 am at 3:46 am |
  15. teapot dome to teabags

    Ahh, Repubicans in love. That time of year, almost spring. Must be mating season. Lock horns and throw each other under the bus.

    Somebody broke the #1 GOP commandment, forget Reagan's #11 when the rats are gnawing on each other.
    Class, let's recite the rules that really count in GOP land:
    #1 never get caught.
    #2 when you get caught, claim you are not a crook and blame somebody else.
    #3 claim you don't remember and plead the fifth.
    #4 declare bankruptcy and claim fiscal moral authority.

    February 2, 2014 05:00 am at 5:00 am |
  16. myway

    Common Christie, pack it up, game's over.

    February 2, 2014 05:15 am at 5:15 am |
  17. Quixote

    Toast, cooked, done. cristy will be lucky to avoid indictment, because this is just one of several cases in which the bully left footprints leading back to his house.

    Maybe he should not have assumed he could take a huge steaming dump on those in his inner circle when the administration had its crimes revealed. Seems that nerd that cristy wants to disavow is not so spineless as cristy thought.

    February 2, 2014 05:37 am at 5:37 am |
  18. Tampa Tim

    Bully for you Krispy.

    February 2, 2014 05:52 am at 5:52 am |
  19. Tampa Tim

    Krispy appointed Wildstein, lauded him for his credentials, and now savages him personally. Even the skunks are walking away from the governor.

    February 2, 2014 05:57 am at 5:57 am |
  20. bearitstrong

    "Christie savaged Wildstein's personal history, listing newspaper accounts critical of his one-time high school classmate and assailing Wildstein’s credibility."

    Just as a magician use misdirection to draw the audiences' attention away from the crux of the trick.

    February 2, 2014 06:13 am at 6:13 am |
  21. tet1953

    I don't know if he knew or not, but if there is evidence they should produce it or it's a non story.

    February 2, 2014 06:34 am at 6:34 am |
  22. Marie MD

    Aaaawwww, poor christie. Feel sorry for him, NOT.

    February 2, 2014 07:07 am at 7:07 am |
  23. Name jk. Sfl. GOP CRUZ lee&rubio 24billion dallar LOSS of your tax money conservatives,the garbage of America.

    He's done, no thugs are going to the whitehouse!!!

    February 2, 2014 07:17 am at 7:17 am |
  24. plain and simple

    So Christie appointed a man to a position of authority who has "no credibility"? Ok then!!!!

    February 2, 2014 07:41 am at 7:41 am |
  25. hkirwin

    An totally inaccurate and partisan article from the NYT, say it isn't so.

    February 2, 2014 08:02 am at 8:02 am |
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