Fort Lee Mayor: 'Not Enough Facts' Yet to Prove Christie Lied

Friday, 31 Jan 2014 07:33 PM

By Cathy Burke

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The Fort Lee, N.J., mayor at the center of Gov. Chris Christie’s escalating bridge-gate scandal said Friday “there’s not enough facts” to determine if Christie lied about when he knew of the George Washington Bridge lane closures last fall, as a former Port Authority official has alleged.

Democratic Mayor Mark Sokolich told CNN’s “The Situation Room” that the reported accusations from PA official David Wildstein weren’t specific enough to determine if they’d topple the embattled Republican governor.

“If you peel back this onion, it says there was no prior knowledge,” Sokolich said, adding “there’s definitely creditability issues with Mr. Wildstein, and he’s bucking for immunity.”

According to the reports, a letter from the lawyer for Wildstein charged it was “the Christie administration’s order” to close the lanes leading to the nation’s busiest bridge – and that “evidence exists as well tying Mr. Christie to having knowledge of the lane closures, during the period when the lanes were closed, contrary to what the governor stated publicly in a two-hour press conference.”

The letter also said Wildstein had “evidence” to prove his assertions.

The former official has resigned, and pleaded the Fifth Amendment when appearing before a State Assembly hearing about the scandal.

“This letter seems to imply there was knowledge during, or when the newspaper reported this,” Sokolich said. “I think it’s criticial, if he knew Monday” [Sept. 9, the first day of the closure] when, Sokolich maintained, “that would have necessitated a drive up to For Lee to [order a] cease and desist,” or “if he found out about it at the tail end.”

“There’s not enough facts,” he said. “I’m not ready to say what this letter means at all.”

When Christie delivered a marathon mea culpa Jan. 9 for the bridge-gate scandal, Sokolich angrily reacted by telling the governor, “don’t reach out for me.”

“You need to reach out to the families who were waiting for ambulances taking three times longer than expected," he told MSNBC in an interview about the emerging scandal.

“You need to reach out to the thousands of families who couldn't get their kids to school.

"You need to reach out to my chief fiscal officer and figure out how much this cost Fort Lee to get a reimbursement check from Trenton," Sokolich said, adding: "David Wildstein deserves an ass-kicking.”

Nevetheless, Sokolich later said he’d accepted the apology of Christie after the executive traveled to Fort Lee to personally deliver his regret.

"I'm glad he came,” Sokolich said.

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