In the grand scheme of political scandals, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s “Bridgegate” is almost laughworthy in terms of unimpressive scope. To think, a politician as blustery as Christie has become well known for an incident of political revenge that involved him allegedly shutting down access lanes to the George Washington Bridge. That doesn’t quite qualify as supervillainy, but the incident created days of traffic jams, all reportedly because Christie was upset at the Democratic Mayor of Fort Lee for not supporting Christie’s re-election bid.
Bridgegate has continued since its 2013 inception, but Christie has consistently denied ruining the first week of school for a bunch of children and their parents (the timing of the lane shutdown was not good). Court documents recently revealed that Christie’s staff was texting about their boss’ public lies, and now, matters have grown worse for Christie. The New York Times reports on prosecutors’ claims that Christie was definitely aware of the bridge’s lane closures as they happened. Not only that, but Christie’s henchmen reportedly bragged to him about their sweet victory:
Prosecutors from the United States attorney’s office said that two of the alleged co-conspirators in the case, David Wildstein and Bill Baroni, had bragged to the governor about the lane closings, and that they had been done to “mess” with the mayor of Fort Lee because he had declined entreaties to endorse the governor’s re-election. Mr. Christie also knew that phone calls from the mayor, Mark Sokolich, raising concerns about a public safety emergency, were deliberately being ignored, prosecutors said.
If these details are true, Christie brought this all upon himself. It’s not too hard to envision him rubbing his hands and cackling gleefully at the thought of hellish traffic jams. Yet this could have turned into a genuine crisis, if emergency vehicles would have been blocked from delivering services, or if there was a medical incident in the midst of a traffic jam, and help couldn’t arrive.
All along, Christie has refuted notions that he knew of a plot to shut down highway lanes or even knew that the incident occurred. But if these prosecutors have their way, Bridgegate could taint Christie’s entire legacy.
(Via New York Times)