NJ Senate President Rejects Maddow’s Alternate Bridge Scandal Theory

January 10, 2014 2:04 p.m.

New Jersey Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D) on Friday dismissed an alternate theory that was floated by MSNBC host Rachel Maddow about the George Washington Bridge scandal.

“That’s a real conspiracy thing, right?” Sweeney said, after TPM described to him the gist of Maddow’s argument.

On her Thursday night program, Maddow suggested that the target of the lane closures, which led to a massive, multi-day traffic jam in the town of Fort Lee, N.J., was not the town’s Democratic mayor, Mark Sokolich. In recent months, many Democrats have speculated that Sokolich was retaliated against because he did not endorse Gov. Chris Christie’s (R) re-election bid last year.

Instead, Maddow suggested, the lane closures were prompted by Christie’s bitter fight with Senate Democrats over re-appointments and nominees to the state Supreme Court. The cable news host pointed out that Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg’s (D) district includes Fort Lee. She also noted that a key moment in the Supreme Court fight happened the day before one of Christie’s aides sent a now-infamous email that read: “Time for traffic problems in Fort Lee.”

But Sweeney, who said he did not see Maddow’s program, rejected the theory.

“That can’t be part of that, that can’t be,” he told TPM, referring to the Supreme Court fight, later adding: “Whoever said that has a very creative imagination.”

Sweeney suggested that now that federal prosecutors are looking into the bridge incident, the truth about the lane closures will eventually come out.

“They’re going to get to the bottom of it,” he said.

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