NEW YORK (TIP): A law firm hired by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to investigate the “Bridgegate” scandal exonerated the potential Republican presidential contender on Thursday, March 27, in a report quickly dismissed by critics as whitewash, says a Reuter report. The review cleared every member of Christie’s current staff, but blamed former members of his inner circle whom he fired soon after a scandal erupted over the September 2013 shutdown of traffic lanes leading to the George Washington Bridge in Fort Lee, New Jersey.
“What we found was that Governor Christie had no involvement in the decision to close these lanes and no prior knowledge of it,” said attorney Randy Mastro of the law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, which conducted the investigation. Two key players who orchestrated the massive traffic jam were Bridget Anne Kelly, the governor’s former deputy chief of staff, and David Wildstein, a Christie appointee to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which oversees the bridge, according to the report.
Their motive was to punish Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich, a Democrat whom Wildstein did not hold in high regard, Mastro told a press conference in New York. Fort Lee sits at one end of the George Washington Bridge, the nation’s busiest span, and the lane closures caused massive backups in the borough. Results of the 10-week probe were met with skepticism by New Jersey Democrats, who have commissioned a bi-partisan panel to investigate the lane closures.
“Lawyers hired by and paid by the Christie administration itself to investigate the governor’s office, who then say the governor and most of his office did nothing wrong, will not be the final word on this matter,” said a statement from Assemblyman John Wisniewski and Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg. Aside from the state investigation, a federal probe is under way by U.S. Attorney for New Jersey Paul Fishman.