A 136-page interim report released by New Jersey lawmakers sitting on an investigation committee—made up of eight Democrats and four Republicans—reveals no direct ties between Governor Chris Christie and the closures, which caused major traffic delays in Fort Lee allegedly as political payback to the town’s Democratic mayor.
According to NJ.com, special counsel Reid Schar said of the report: “At present there is no conclusive evidence as to whether Governor Christie was or was not aware of the lane closures either in advance of their implementation or contemporaneously as they were occurring.”
The latest news was covered across the nation, finding itself etched into columns of the Los Angeles Times, Washington Times and the Wichita Eagle—further indication that the governor is attracting national attention as he heads towards the 2016 presidential campaign.
However, the governor may not be out of the clear just yet.
At a meeting of the panel on Monday, questions arose about the content of 12 text messages exchanged between the governor and his current chief of staff, Regina Egea, during Port Authority testimony in December 2013, at which time staff members testified that there was no legitimate traffic study. The existence of a traffic study had been used by administration officials to explain the lane closures.
Christie said in August that he has “no recollection” of those text messages; the content was unavailable to the panel because the texts were deleted by both parties.
State Senator Loretta Weinberg (D-Bergen), who is co-chair of the panel, said in the meeting on Monday that the committee plans to look further into the text messages.
Although Christie seems to have escaped blame so far, a report by NBC-4 New York cited anonymous sources who claim indictments in connection with the scandal may be handed down—to former staffers of the governor and Port Authority officials—as early as January. Those indictments would be the result of a separate probe by the U.S Attorney’s Office.
The legislative committee will continue to investigate the probe moving forward.Click here to leave a comment