Tags: | Christie Bridge Controversy | us | attorney | bridge | closure | fbi

US Attorney in New Jersey Seeks FBI's Help in Bridge-Gate Probe

Image: US Attorney in New Jersey Seeks FBI's Help in Bridge-Gate Probe

By    |   Thursday, 09 Jan 2014 11:01 AM

The U.S. attorney in New Jersey is opening an inquiry into claims that public officials orchestrated the massive traffic snarl on the busy George Washington Bridge to settle a political score — and has asked the FBI to help.

The probe announcement came Thursday as Gov. Chris Christie, a possible Republican White House contender, spent the day addressing the brewing scandal over his staff's role in orchestrating the traffic jam after a local mayor declined to endorse Christie's re-election bid.

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U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman, whose job Christie held before being elected governor, has opened a probe into the decision to close the bridge lanes, his spokeswoman said.

"Our office is reviewing it to determine whether a federal law was implicated," Rebekah Carmichael said in a statement Thursday.

CNN reported, citing an unnamed law enforcement source, that Fishman's office was working with the FBI's public corruption unit on the case.

The controversy erupted with the public release of incriminating emails showing that a top aide to Christie played a key role in closing some lanes to the bridge, in a ploy to punish the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee, N.J.

The mayor, Mark Sokolich, told CNN he's certain laws were broken

"You don't hear those initials — that being the FBI — unless it reaches a level of criminality," Sokolich said.

The George Washington Bridge, one of the busiest spans in the world, connects New York City to Fort Lee, N.J.. The abrupt lane four-day closures in September caused hours-long traffic jams and held up the passage of school buses and ambulances.

The incident threatens to tarnish Christie's image and national standing as he weighs a 2016 bid for the White House.

Christie said in a written statement on Wednesday that he had been misled by his staff, knew nothing of the lane closings before they occurred and vowed to hold people "responsible for their actions."

In the most damning email, Christie aide Bridget Anne Kelly, wrote to a Port Authority executive in August, saying: "Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee."

The executive, David Wildstein, replied: "Got it."

In another message sent amid the gridlock, an unidentified author wrote: "Is it wrong that I'm smiling," and Wildstein responded: "No."

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The U.S. attorney in New Jersey is opening an inquiry into claims that public officials orchestrated the massive traffic snarl on the busy George Washington Bridge to settle a political score - and reportedly has asked the FBI to help. The probe announcement came Thursday...
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2014-01-09
Thursday, 09 Jan 2014 11:01 AM
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