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. Anonymous

    After all the facts are revealed you can rest assured that the bridge closing decision is traced right back to the White House. Did anyone notice that Secretary of Labor Haimson was in New Jersey on the date of the closing? What was he doing there? Connect the dots and you can see that this whole thing is Obama's doing,

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

    CHRISTIE: Career Hopes Ruined In Scandal That Imbeciles Engineered!
    (Your GOP "pals" set you up, Chris-for Jeb!)

    February 2, 2014 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  3. GFL

    The Port Authority closed the bridge and all Port Authority Commissioners are appointed by Obama as payback for political support. Check it out. When all the facts are revealed the bridge closing will be exposed for what it was - Reid and Obama abusing power to punish the good people of Hoboken for voting for Romney.

    February 2, 2014 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  4. Gilmore

    The powers that be want Jeb Bush as the Republican nominee and Hillary Clinton as the Democratic nominee. Christie, although he would like to be in the "club," has been rejected for membership, not because of this silly issue, but because the club already has enough members and doesn't think he has the pedigree to qualify.... and could be unpredictable.

    Look to Clinton operatives working behind the scenes.

    The American voters, like sheep, will obey.

    February 2, 2014 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  5. BeenThereDoneThat

    GOP prays "The Great Bush Hope" will do what Chris can't: Beat Bill (er, Hillary) in 2016! They're TERRIFIED of Clinton!

    February 2, 2014 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  6. GOP = Greed Over People

    Simply one opportunist outing another opportunist.

    February 2, 2014 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  7. Roger Ogilvy Thornhill

    Not a bombshell maybe, but still going out with a bang. Nigthy-night Crisco.

    February 2, 2014 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  8. DarthWoo

    I really am clueless or I would realize that the attacks under Bush were not lied about. Those had zero in common with the Benghazi fiasco. But I do like kool-aide.

    February 2, 2014 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  9. Kenneth

    Geez! These right wing nuts are still going on about Benghazi? After hearing after hearing after hearing could not come up with any culpability on the part of the White House?
    And then they turn around and cry because the Bush administration's failures are still alluded to.


    February 2, 2014 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  10. ReallyReally

    Economy artificially propped while our dollar is destroyed thanks to QE. Health Insurance Cos are now too big to fail thanks to Obamacare. People lied and people died over Benghazi. Unemplyment artificially low due to people giving up, by every report on the subject. Somehow this is pasted all over CNN while all of the other real issues go virtually unreported or grossly under-reported. And all of the kool-aideaholics can only mutter something about Bush to justify all of the wrong doings by this administration. Get real.

    February 2, 2014 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  11. liberal disease

    christie is a lot of things he is not a liar like say Obama.

    February 2, 2014 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  12. The REAL TRUTH...

    It appears that the usual set of clues rw trolls are posting here.. again. State run media?? LOL.. Benghazi.. yawn.
    The spoutrage is hilarious (and typical) as is the hypocrisy...

    February 2, 2014 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  13. ardvrk

    All that booing this afternoon – think what it's doing to his stress eating!

    Poor Bubbles... No one likes him anymore...

    February 2, 2014 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  14. vigilantunderwood

    The GOP's last best hope has just been thrown under the bus. Who is going to take Christie's place? Jeb Bush? Rick Perry? One of those Tea Party nimrods? Safe to say, thanks to GOP leadership's bungling and ham-handed tactics, the Democrats could steamroll to the WH in 2016. Even after Obama practically handed over a sure bet with his own epic bungling (Obamacare, Benghazi, just to name two). So what's it going to be GOP?

    February 2, 2014 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  15. tee

    I'm still in the camp of let's wait until the trial is over. But no matter his guilt or innocence there is NO way he'll be able to make a successful bid for president.

    February 2, 2014 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  16. Sophie Meyer

    Hmm...Mr. Christie is beginning to sound like someone willing to say anything just to cover his own behind. Oh, wait, where did I hear that before?

    February 3, 2014 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  17. JO

    Come clean before any more time passes........haven't you learned this from other politicians????? Save you family from some heartache, shake it if off, learn your lesson and more on!!!! It ALL will come out, believe a man and admit it.

    February 3, 2014 12:14 am at 12:14 am |
  18. DrMerica

    What's the deal with Benghazi? I have trouble seeing a scandal. If it was a terrorist attack and the state dept didn't do enough to stop it, the why wasn't Bush reprimanded for 9/11? When over 3,000 people died not 4? Cry me a river Republicans and introduce a Jobs Bill. If spending is the issue then cut the military. It's simple.

    February 3, 2014 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  19. JC

    If he has the email then show it. Otherwise this is a non-issue. And it's Buah league for the NYT to publish a letter discussing the existence of evidence and not ask to see the evidence. Whoever wrote the article and approved it for print needs to be held accountable for a lack of journalistic integrity. The NYT itself needs to demand the email or print a retraction. Printing the article was reckless.

    February 3, 2014 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  20. donpar

    If the evidence exists and hasn't been put forth, it probably doesn't really exist! I live near SF and out here, all this rage over a traffic jam seems vastly overblown... The NYT is playing fast and loose with its journalistic reputation, and they need to look carefully at their motives and what the results of misinformation might be!

    February 3, 2014 12:41 am at 12:41 am |
  21. goldleafmastiffs

    I bet we find out down the line that this was some kind of setup to destroy Christie's run for President. I wouldn't be a bit surprised.

    February 3, 2014 02:41 am at 2:41 am |
  22. gustifer53

    I have a feeling that Christie is doomed...

    February 3, 2014 04:19 am at 4:19 am |
  23. mike

    Its obvious what happened and who knew, as the bodies pile up under the bus, so will the truth.

    February 3, 2014 05:12 am at 5:12 am |
  24. CaptainChina

    Chris Christie embodies the best qualities of the GOP party.

    February 3, 2014 05:31 am at 5:31 am |
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