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New details on the unfolding Chris Christie bridge scandal

By Catherine Hawley, Reporter, @CatherineH_WFMZ, chawley@wfmz.com
Published On: Jan 10 2014 09:34:35 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 11 2014 06:20:38 AM CST

Chris Christie bridge scandal

FORT LEE, N.J. -

Friday, about two thousand pages of documents were released and are shedding new light on what's being called an act of political retribution against the mayor of Fort Lee.

A committee of New Jersey lawmakers released nearly 2,000 pages of documents Friday. They're part of the investigation into why traffic onto the George Washington Bridge was snarled back in September.

The documents show in the days after the lane closings, officials scrambled to control publicity damage and local police and other officials had a hard time getting details about the situation.

Also included in the documents, a scathing email sent from the executive director of the Port Authority saying he was never told about the closures. The documents also show that drivers started complaining about the traffic near the bridge immediately after the lanes were reduced.
In the wake of the scandal, Governor Chris Christie's former Deputy Chief of Staff, Bridget Kelly was fired.

Port Authority official David Wildstein refused to answer state lawmakers' questions Thursday, he was held in contempt. Wildstein and Kelly are accused of jamming up traffic near the George Washington Bridge as political retribution.

But Christie says he had no knowledge of the events and maintains he was not connected.

"I'm stunned by the abject stupidity that was shown here," shared Christie.

The abrupt lane closures caused a massive gridlock and delayed emergency responders in Fort Lee. Christie personally apologized to Mayor Mark Sokolich, but folks living there have mixed reactions.

"I think he did it to make himself look good, because he had to," said Dorie Greenlaw. "It was at a point where he had to because he knew about this."

"I don't blame Christie for it because you can't monitor everybody in your administration all the time," added Frank Branco.

The US Attorney's office is looking into the scandal to see if it should bring charges. A class action lawsuit was filed Thursday by folks claiming the gridlock made them late for work resulting in lost wages.