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. Larry

    Darn – Chrispy is down before we could win another presidency from it. Next up? Ask the Koch Brothers who they plan to buy for this go around.

    February 2, 2014 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  2. Brian from Denver

    Poor Christie! His defense is now that the other guy is an incompetent liar, a fool, a person who should not be trusted in anything he says or has ever done.

    Uh, Mr. Christie, YOU'RE the one who foisted him on us. It was in YOUR name that he shut down the lanes. When he responded "Got it!" to the call to close the bridge lanes, it was payback for YOUR campaign.

    One thing is right about this. To come up with this lame defense of yourself after having abandoned your staff and confidants in desperate hopes of redeeming your presidential aspirations you have laid bare another fact whispered in the halls of NJ: Chris Christie was never qualified to be a State's Attorney in the first place; it was a political plum assignment from the Republican party.

    February 2, 2014 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  3. ron

    not going to get my vote.....i don,t like eatern politicians....most of them are gun grabbers

    February 2, 2014 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  4. ja

    Blowing smoke is what Christie is doing

    February 2, 2014 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  5. DarthWoo

    Christie knows all these dark and terrible things about Wildstein that he uses to attack him...yet he still appointed him to a six figure position that was pretty much created especially for him? Even if he truly knew nothing about the closures beforehand, this demonstrates that Christie's judgment is colossally flawed.

    February 2, 2014 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  6. Catherine

    Twice as many headlines about a bridge being shut down than Benghazi – shameful truly shameful, if you want the exact count just research it (can't say the g word). This is what a state run press does!!!!!

    February 2, 2014 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  7. JakeF

    "I was made aware of the lane closures by my staff. It is regrettable and a petty response to issues that shouldn't have become public. I sincerely apology to the people of New Jersey and everyone who were inconvenienced by the lane closures on the GW. This is something that should never have happened under my watch or from my staff."

    Was it really that difficult to diffuse this silly situation? Instead, Christie decided to throw everyone under the bus. Seems he can't get out of the way from being run over himself by this. Honestly, I would have liked to see him run for president. Now? From his handling of this, it seems that dream may now be out of reach.

    February 2, 2014 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  8. DarthWoo

    Catherine, where are all the articles about the embassy attacks that happened under Bush? I can count on less than one hand the amount of Republicans outraged over the several dozen deaths that occurred in those attacks.

    February 2, 2014 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  9. countingdown

    Insults, Bush bashing, tea party bashing, GOP bashing, Christie bashing, but you can't defend the colossal failure of this administration. So pathetic!

    February 2, 2014 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  10. pete

    How come we don't hear or know more about Wildstein? Just because someone says something and takes the 5th we're supposed to believe him? or the media message? Who has used the 5th in your memory that proved to be a less than honest?

    February 2, 2014 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  11. countingdown

    don in albuquerque

    Btw! Oz is a much better place than libby land!

    February 2, 2014 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  12. NewYorkerHK

    WOW!!! The democratic controlled media really must see Christie as a danger to their new blame everyone else and take no personal responsibility way of running the federal government. To the lengths they are all going to paint a bad picture of Christie is amazing. Just so everyone knows, the bridge is owned by the Port Authority of NEW YORK AND NEW JERSEY. If Christie knows than where is Cuomo in all of this? He would have known that this was fishy too had both executives been involved. One would not be in the know without the other.

    February 2, 2014 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  13. Qwen

    That's it. Blame the media.

    February 2, 2014 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  14. Geo Bruno

    Catherine, where is your outrage for the 100,000 perished Iraqis WHO DID NOT ATTACK US AND HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH 9/11.

    Or the 45,000 Americans that perish each year from a lack of affordable hc?

    February 2, 2014 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  15. YoonYoungJo

    Dear Gov Christie, sadly I know how it feels for people to be willing to make up anything they want about you to save themselves or take the smallest littlest things and try and make them seem like something. Still on the fence whether you knew or not, but hopefully you didn't. Not a Christie supporter but you would have made the presidential race fun to watch.

    February 2, 2014 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  16. PrettyFingFunny

    You never have to worry about potential GOP Presidential candidates, they almost always self destruct at some point.

    February 2, 2014 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  17. Cape Cod Paulie

    CNN spent more time on Gov Christie story about lane closings on the GW Bridge than the following MAJOR stories combined:
    – Benghazi ................................... people died
    – ATF Fast & Furious ................... people died
    – IRS Targeting Conservative Groups
    – ObamaCare lies (If you like your plan you can keep your plan)
    – AP Privacy Violations
    – Fox News Rosen privacy Violations
    – Pigford Scandal
    – Green Energy Scandal, including Solyndra

    CNN will never understand that under-reporting, hiding the news or failure to report these stories discredits their brand and trustworthiness in the eyes o he public. Same with MSNBC on a much larger scale. As it is now called, MSNBChristie has 3 hours per nite of the Gov Christie scandal and approximately 0 minutes on any Obama scandal. Incredible.

    If CNN would only put forth the same effort when Obama crosses the line, CNN may be able to recover. If not, you will continue to be in the gutter with MSNBC and the other crazies.

    February 2, 2014 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  18. Humbrrto

    Former NJ Attorney General Radner who worked for Christie in the NJ Federal prosecutors office also has criminal charges filed with the newark nj fbi that that fish man and the news are hiding

    February 2, 2014 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  19. merjja

    I am not a Christie fan, but really, can't the media, CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, NBC, can't they be non biased?? Everything the current administration has done and this man stopped up some lanes, and they are ready to say he is finished at everything, but yet Obama can't do ANY wrong. Something is wrong in this picture

    February 2, 2014 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  20. Scott

    Man, the Dems are really running scared of this guy. They have their media hacks out in force on this one with daily updates. Todays big news CHRISTIE KNEW THE LANES WERE CLOSED! Holy cow, he listens to AM radio!!!

    February 2, 2014 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  21. peter Nguyen

    Hey wing nuts,.. the Media did not said ... time for some traffic delay..... the Left Nuts did not said...Got it.. so dont pass the blame.. LOL...


    February 2, 2014 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  22. Holly

    I find it typical that so many comments on here slam Christie's "I did not know". Yet how many of these same people completely believe all of Obama's and the rest of the Dems "I did not know" claims. Like I said typical.

    February 2, 2014 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  23. blf83

    While some of the trolls above share the idea of an overall result, I am sorry for Mr. Christie. He is attacked by the left for being Republican and by the right for governing – with compromise. On the other hand, he is clearly a bully, and that fact does not make him presidential material.

    February 2, 2014 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  24. Willllburrrr

    Uh... just quit bub. Yer toast anyway. Quit, and go open a grease burger franchise on a beach in Alaska. You'll be around lots of food, with few customers to take it away from you. Trust me, it's your only option.

    February 2, 2014 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  25. thinkergal

    OMG, I am soooo tired of Christie's fat face and tacky rhetoric–long before this scandal broke! This should put an end to his presidential aspirations, which I'm not so sure anyone took seriously anyway. Wait–can he trace the source of this email and rain retribution on me?

    February 2, 2014 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
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