N.J. Paper: ‘Playing God’ With Bridge Warrants Federal Criminal Investigation

ASSOCIATED PRESS

A New Jersey newspaper that doggedly reported on Gov. Chris Christie’s (R) ties to a traffic mess on the George Washington Bridge called for a federal criminal investigation into the matter Thursday.

The Bergen Record was among the news outlets, including TPM, that reported one of Christie’s closest aides talked about closing lanes on the bridge weeks before they occurred with one of the governor’s appointees to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

“Playing God” with the bridge, the newspaper wrote, amounted to interfering with interstate commerce and warrants investigation at both the federal and state levels.

From the newspaper’s editorial:

No evidence showing the governor was involved in the GWB scandal has emerged. Christie issued a statement late Wednesday saying he knew nothing about the lane closures and that anyone in his administration found responsible would be held accountable. Strong words that would have been stronger if issued in person rather than by press release. But all investigations into this growing mess must look at the full chain of command and the culture that existed inside the governor’s office.

If [Bridget Anne] Kelly has not been fired by this sunrise, she should be. But firing one deputy isn’t going to cut it now. Interfering with interstate commerce – and playing God with the GWB is doing just that – warrants a federal criminal investigation. In addition to a federal probe, a state probe is needed. Because New Jersey’s attorney general is a Christie pick, New York should take the lead in that investigation.

The Bergen Record also reported Wednesday that the September lane closures delayed responses to at least four medical emergencies — including the response to an unconscious 91-year-old woman, who later died of cardiac arrest at a hospital.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Catherine Thompson is a senior editor for Talking Points Memo in New York City. She came to the site in 2013 and reported on national affairs. Previously, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett. She can be reached at catherine@talkingpointsmemo.com.
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