Ex-Christie Aide: I Told Guv About BridgeGate Plans Despite What He Told Press

On Dec. 13, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) told the press that no one on his senior staff had prior knowledge of the plan to close access lanes to the George Washington Bridge in September. But a lawyer representing Christie’s former campaign manager Bill Stepien now says that was wrong.

The claim was included in a letter sent in early April — and made public Wednesday — by attorney Kevin Marino. The letter was sent to Randy Mastro, the high-priced defense attorney who led the governor’s internal review of the scandal.

The letter demanded corrections to a report produced by Mastro and his team, which cleared Christie of any role in the scandal. Among Marino’s demands: that Mastro retract the portion of the report claiming that Stepien had falsely assured Christie that he had no “prior knowledge of the [GWB] lane realignment.”

“[T]he Report itself acknowledges — albeit obliquely — that Mr. Stepien advised Governor Christie on December 12, 2013, that he (Mr. Stepien) did have prior knowledge of the lane realignment,” Marino wrote, later adding: “When the Governor asked Mr. Stepien directly whether he had prior knowledge of the lane closures, Mr. Stepien truthfully told the Governor that [former Port Authority of New York and New Jersey executive] David Wildstein had come to him with the idea, to which Mr. Stepien responded that Mr. Wildstein would have to run the idea by normal channels in Trenton (i.e. the Governor’s Office).”

At a press conference the next day, on Dec. 13, Christie told reporters that he had “made it very clear to everybody on my senior staff that if anyone had any knowledge about this that they needed to come forward to me and tell me about it and they’ve all assured me that they don’t,” according to The Bergen Record. Asked specifically at the news conference about Stepien, Christie said that he had spoken to his former campaign manager, who had assured him of “the same thing.”

Several weeks later, documents were released tying several of Christie’s staff members to discussions of the lane closures both before and after they occurred.

Dear Reader,

When we asked recently what makes TPM different from other outlets, readers cited factors like honesty, curiosity, transparency, and our vibrant community. They also pointed to our ability to report on important stories and trends long before they are picked up by mainstream outlets; our ability to contextualize information within the arc of history; and our focus on the real-world consequences of the news.

Our unique approach to reporting and presenting the news, however, wouldn’t be possible without our readers’ support. That’s not just marketing speak, it’s true: our work would literally not be possible without readers deciding to become members. Not only does member support account for more than 80% of TPM’s revenue, our members have helped us build an engaged and informed community. Many of our best stories were born from reader tips and valuable member feedback.

We do what other news outlets can’t or won’t do because our members’ support gives us real independence.

If you enjoy reading TPM and value what we do, become a member today.

Latest Livewire
Comments
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Investigations Desk:
Reporters:
Newswriters:
Director of Audience:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Publisher:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: