UPDATE: Gov. Christie has released a statement, see below.
The man who led an investigation into the George Washington Bridge lane closures said on Wednesday that recently published emails proved that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) either did not know what was going on in his own office or was lying to the public.
Emails released on Wednesday added to suspicions that mid-September lane closures on the George Washington Bridge were political retribution against Democratic Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich, who endorsed Christie’s opponent in the 2012 gubernatorial race.
In one email, Bridget Anne Kelly, a deputy on Christie’s senior staff, told a Port Authority official that it was “[t]ime for some traffic problems in Fort Lee.”
Christie, who is considered to be a top Republican presidential candidate for 2016, has denied that he or his staff had any role in the bridge incident.
While the New Jersey governor canceled his only public event on Wednesday after the emails were published, Assembly Deputy Speaker John Wisniewski (D), who led an investigation into the lane closures, found time to speak to the press.
“There’s two possibilities,” Wisniewski said. “Either he doesn’t know what’s going on in his front office or that there’s lying going on.”
The Deputy Speaker pointed out that the Assembly Transportation, Public Works and Independent Authorities Committee had the power to subpoena anyone — including the governor — as a part of the investigation.
However, Wisniewski said that Christie’s name did not appear in any of the emails so he was only focusing on the governor’s staff at this time.
“We’re going to look at every person who has a role,” he insisted. “Clearly, there’s a reason to ask questions of Bridget Kelly and other people in the governor’s office.”
Wisniewski reminded reporters that federal and state laws had been broken, making criminal charges a possibility.
Watch this video from KYW, broadcast Jan. 8, 2014.
UPDATE: Late Wednesday afternoon Gov. Christie released a statement about the bridge controversy:
“What I’ve seen today for the first time is unacceptable. I am outraged and deeply saddened to learn that not only was I misled by a member of my staff, but this completely inappropriate and unsanctioned conduct was made without my knowledge. One thing is clear: this type of behavior is unacceptable and I will not tolerate it because the people of New Jersey deserve better. This behavior is not representative of me or my Administration in any way, and people will be held responsible for their actions.”