Embattled New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) said Monday he was unaware of a political motive behind last year’s traffic snarl on the George Washington Bridge until he read about it in a news report.
“Did I know anything about the plan to close these lanes?” Christie asked, speaking on WKXW-FM. “Did I have any knowledge of it beforehand? The answer is still the same: it’s unequivocally no.”
“The fact is the first time this really came into my consciousness as an issue was when Pat Foye, the executive director of the Port Authority’s e-mail about this incident was leaked to the media,” he said.
The Wall Street Journal published the article referenced by Christie on Oct. 1, 2013, weeks after the lanes were reopened.
Last week, an attorney for former Christie ally David Wildstein, a former Port Authority official, said “evidence exists” tying Christie "to having knowledge of the lane closures, during a period when the two lanes were closed." The closures were an apparent act of retribution against the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee, N.J.
“I had nothing to do with this,” Christie said, pushing back against the attorney’s claim. “No knowledge, no authorization, nothing.”
The flurry of reporting about when he became aware of his aides’ actions is a “game of gotcha,” he added. “As soon as I knew there was some issue here I asked my staff to get to the Port Authority and find out what was going on.”
Christie also confirmed that federal prosecutors are looking into the episode and recently issued subpoenas to several of his advisers. He said they will “comply and cooperate” with the requests.
Christie’s comments were part of a radio show called “Ask the Governor” featuring calls from New Jersey residents.