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. Tiz

    Sounds like the media wants Christie to go down....... Is this what he gets for reaching across to Obama during Sandy?

    February 2, 2014 08:12 am at 8:12 am |
  2. Hatch

    When you can't attack the message, attack the messenger. Typical response of the guilty.

    February 2, 2014 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  3. Uncle Sam

    CHristie has no choice but to continue to lie.

    February 2, 2014 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  4. mickinmd

    If his reputation is so bad, why did Christie -while NOT funding NJ Pensions as needed- create an entirely new position for Wildstein?

    February 2, 2014 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  5. Rob

    Nothing surprising here. The New Times stopped being "News" long ago and is now nothing less that a propaganda rag. The gossip sheets are more reliable that the NY Times and their little socialist gang

    February 2, 2014 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  6. scarf

    So Christie has known the guy since high school, appoints him to the Port Authority, and NOW he questions his character? I'm beginning to think Christie is either a liar or an awful judge of character.

    February 2, 2014 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  7. Derp

    Umm, if Wildstein is such a bad apple, how did he obtain and sustain such status with the Port Authority? Why was he kept around this long?

    February 2, 2014 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  8. Will the real Christie stand up?

    We've seen it in the past an we'll see it again.....the real Christie comes out when backed up against a wall - bully style.

    February 2, 2014 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  9. CaesarXIII

    Meanwhile in real life, the world is collapsing along with the country.. Let's focus on a lane closure on a bridge.

    February 2, 2014 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  10. dave

    Actually, the bombshell WILL be a bombshell and will show undeniably that Christie if fact DID know about the bridge closings WHILE they were going on. It will immediately be followed by Chris Christie using the old "I don't deny this happened, I just have no recollection of it happening."

    February 2, 2014 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  11. dave

    "Bottom line – Chris Christie will do and say anything to save Chris Christie."

    February 2, 2014 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  12. Anonymous

    Christie's world is falling under the weight of his own actions. Christie is relying heavily on Wildstein's high school years to discredit Wildstein. When David was 16, his teacher said THIS about Wildstein. This approach ought to comfort the billionaire donors Christie needs to keep the RGA funded. Not to mention the RNC.

    February 2, 2014 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  13. Todd

    Chris Christie campaign slogan "Obama wrecked it, I will fix it"

    February 2, 2014 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  14. Tampa Tim

    In real life, the Faux scandals created by Fox are non existent, the billionaire brothers did not want Krispy and are helping people turn on him, and worst of all, ACA is working.

    February 2, 2014 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  15. Tampa Tim

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

    February 2, 2014 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  16. R

    I am waiting to see the facts. To destroy a career over slander is evil.

    February 2, 2014 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  17. Name a non religious fundamentalist republican

    When your defense is based on attacking edits made on a media website you might just be in some serious door doo. It reeks of desperation.

    February 2, 2014 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  18. Tampa Tim

    In an earlier post, a right wingnut complained that he (or she) would not be able to keep his junk policy forever? He evidently wanted to pay more for less, he embraced conservative values like the ones that gave us the Great Depression and the Great Recession, and reiterated that women should not have the right to choose. Then, he said that expecting people to pay their fair share in taxes and increasing the minimum wage is like taking all the money and dividing by 317 million. Wow!

    February 2, 2014 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  19. They ought to change from the elephant to the hippo...

    So, Chris... Your defense is that you put an incompetent boob with low character that you have known forever in a position of authority? Is that it...?

    February 2, 2014 10:34 am at 10:34 am |

    With all the speculation on this blog, I wonder if any of you ever considered waiting until all the facts are presented before hanging the man by his thumbs. I believe, as it turns out, that the Mayor of Hoboken either lied under oath in a unrelated case regarding her phantom journal, or she has created a journal since then.

    Never trust news articles and published opinions, especially those with political agendas. Wanting something to be true doesn't make it so, unless, of course your mind is already tainted. If there is one thing I know about Christy, it is that he is not stupid. He may well have had a hand in the lane closures, but I don't know that. Apparently some of you think you do. Thankfully, none of you are my neighbors.

    February 2, 2014 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  21. don in albuquerque

    Lots of smoke here, time to find the fire.

    February 2, 2014 10:44 am at 10:44 am |

    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.

    February 2, 2014 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  23. Jerry McTigue

    At this point, Christie is just trying to barricade the door as the truth comes crashing through. I would say he has mere days before it all unravels for him.

    February 2, 2014 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  24. Steve

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

    And BOTTOM LINE: Chris Christie will do and say anything to save Chris Christie. Everything that Christie accuses Wildstein of having done is just a something Wildstein learned from Christie playbook. Every dirty trick and obfuscation that Christie accuses Wildstein of is something Christie has done himself, either recently or in his long, sordid past of twisting arms, ending careers and playing favorites. Chris Christie is a sack of human garbage.

    February 2, 2014 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  25. Howard

    I have disproved Einsteins theory of relativity. Governor Christie had no knowledge and no involvement in the bridge closing. Both statements are equally credible.

    February 2, 2014 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
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