Chris Christie’s former deputy chief of staff broke her silence on the Bridgegate scandal for the first time in three years, testifying Friday that the New Jersey governor knew about Fort Lee lane closures one month before they started in September 2013.
Bridget Kelly is on trial for allegedly plotting with two other former Christie allies to close lanes on the George Washington Bridge connecting New York and New Jersey. Prosecutors say Kelly sent the infamous “time for some traffic problems” email as part of a revenge plot against a Democratic mayor who wouldn’t endorse the Republican governor’s 2013 re-election bid.
Kelly, who testified in her own defense Friday, maintained she believed the lane closings had been done for a traffic study by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
Former Port Authority executive David Wildstein, who has plead guilty to being the mastermind behind the bridge plot, previously testified that the traffic study was just a cover-up.
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Kelly said Friday that Wildstein, who is the prosecution’s key witness, told her at the time that the traffic study would create “tremendous traffic problems” in Fort Lee but would ultimately ease traffic.
She testified that Christie approved the study.
“He said, ‘All right.’ He didn’t really react. He said that’s fine. He said, ‘How is the relationship with Mayor Sokolich’ of Fort Lee?” Kelly said, according to Philly.com. “And I didn’t know. I really didn’t know.”
Kelly’s bombshell testimony contradicts Christie’s longstanding claim that he didn’t know about the lane closures in advance. Kelly also tearfully admitted on Friday that she was afraid of Christie.
The New Jersey governor has denied any involvement in the lane closures and not been charged in the case. He is scheduled to appear in court on Nov. 23 to respond to a citizen’s misconduct complaint alleging he knew about the closures and didn’t stop them.