A lawyer for a former loyalist of Gov. Chris Christie says the governor knew about lanes closings near the George Washington Bridge at the time they occurred and that the governor gave contrary information at a Jan. 9 news conference.
The governor issued a statement Friday saying that all he has said previously is that he had “no prior knowledge” of the lane closures before they occurred. Federal prosecutors and a legislative committee began investigations after documents revealed in January they were part of a political vendetta involving aides and associates.
Christie has flatly denied knowing that the closings were politically orchestrated.
Here are excerpts from Christie’s comments at news conferences in December and January.
Talking about testimony on the lane closings by Patrick Foye, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s appointee to the Port Authority:
“When you listen to Mr. Foye’s testimony … he said he didn’t know about it until Friday. Now, he’s the executive director of the Port Authority.
“If the traffic was so awful, no one brought it to his attention until the fifth day in. So if it didn’t get to the executive director of the Port Authority, you can guarantee it didn’t get to me. And, factually, it didn’t get to me.
“The first I ever heard about the issue was when it was reported in the press, which I think was in the aftermath of the leaking of Mr. Foye’s email. I think that was the first I heard of it, but it was certainly well after the whole thing was over before I heard about it.”
Asked if he could “tell us that you do not authorize this kind of retribution?,” he responded:
“Oh, absolutely not. No. And I knew nothing about this. And until it started to be reported in the papers about the closure, but even then I was told this was a traffic study.”
Summing up his response to documents showing the closings were apparent political payback, he said:
“And I’ll say one last thing, just so we’re really clear. I had no knowledge or involvement in this issue, in its planning or it execution, and I am stunned by the abject stupidity that was shown here. “
Asked if he could understand “why people would have a hard time believing that you didn’t know about this thing?” he responded:
“So what I can tell you is if people find that hard to believe, I don’t know what else to say except to tell them that I had no knowledge of this — of the planning, the execution or anything about it — and that I first found out about it after it was over.
“And even then, what I was told was that it was a traffic study. And there was no evidence to the contrary until yesterday that was brought to my attention or anybody else’s attention.”