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Did Christie Order Traffic Gridlock as Political Revenge?

Governor Chris Christie 001

AP Photo/Mel Evans

Brantly Millegan - published on 01/08/14 - updated on 06/07/17

New emails and text messages indicate New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s staff ordered lane closures to punish the town of a political rival.

Rising star of the Republican party, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is accused of ordering a construction project to intentionally cause traffic jams in Fort Lee, New Jersey as retaliation for its mayor not supporting him for reelection.

According to The New York Times, Bridget Anne Kelly, a deputy chief of staff for Christie’s, emailed the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey two weeks before the lanes were closed, saying, “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee.”

The road closures were on the George Washington Bridge, which connects New Jersey and New York, and handles 300,000 cars a day.

Christie has "absolutely, unequivocally" denied that the closures were politically motivated.

But Christie’s actions since the story broke seem to confirm some sort of guilt. “After the emails were released, Mr. Christie canceled his one public event for the day, which had been billed as an announcement of progress in the recovery from Hurricane Sandy,” The New York Times reported. “His office had no immediate comment.”

“While the emails do not establish that the governor himself called for the lane closings, they do show his staff was intimately involved, contradicting Mr. Christie’s repeated avowals that no one in his office or campaign knew.”

NBC News reports about text messages sent between Christie’s Port Authority aide David Wildstein and an anonymous person that further indicate the road closures were for political reasons.

"Is it wrong that I am smiling?" the anonymous person texted.

"No,” Wildstein replied.

"I feel badly about the kids. I guess."

"They are the children of Buono voters."

Barbara Buono is the Democratic candidate Christie defeated in New Jersey’s governor race in 2013.

Fox News interprets the accusations as Democrats trying to unfairly tarnish Christie’s political reputation in expectation that he’ll run for president in 2016.

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