Nightly News   |  January 08, 2014

Christie Denies Misconduct in Bridge Closure Debacle

Emails and texts released Wednesday by New Jersey officials suggest the George Washington Bridge traffic nightmare was deliberately triggered by one of Gov. Chris Christie’s top aides.

Share This:

This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> good evening, on another cold night in the northeast, and we'll get to that cold in just a moment. we begin tonight with a story of what some are calling an abuse of power and an act of political retribution by those close to one of the most prominent politicians in our country. the story begins on one of the biggest bridges in the world, linking new york and new jersey, part of the massive artery up and down the east coast , because of an enormous backup this past september, a scandal has started over chris christie , the new jersey governor. a man that many regard as a candidate in 2016 . e-mails have been released showing the traffic backup was the work apparently of members of chris christie 's staff, among others, and that it was intentional and political meant to make life difficult for a new jersey mayor on that side of the bridge. we begin now with stephanie gosk.

>> reporter: even by new york city standards, the traffic that blocked the bridge last september was maddening. for four days, two traffic lanes there were shut down, bringing the city to a stand still . among those caught in the jam for hours, police officers searching for a missing 4-year-old girl. e-mails and text messages released today by new jersey officials suggest the traffic nightmare was deliberately triggered by one of the top aides to new jersey governor chris christie .

>> the documents that have been published are both shocking and outrageous. they show government at its worst. among other things, they call into serious question the honesty of this governor and his staff.

>> reporter: in a strongly worded denial tonight, governor christie says what i have seen today for the first time is unacceptable. not only was i misled by a member of my staff, but this completely inappropriate and unsanctioned conduct was made without my knowledge. two weeks before the monster traffic jam , chris christie 's deputy chief of staff e-mailed a local transportation official, david wildstein. time for some traffic problems in fort lee . wildstein, a high school friend, replied, got it. after two days of disruption and chaos, one unidentified person sent this text to wildstein, is it wrong that i am smiling? they accuse the aide of punishing him for refusing to endorse him in the campaign.

>> who deserves the apology? my family, the families who live here in fort lee , who were hours late for the opening day of school, they deserve an apology.

>> reporter: before today , governor christie 's office denied having anything to do with the incident. and denied being personally involved.

>> i was actually the guy out there in overalls and hats, working the cones.

>> reporter: governor christie is considered a gop frontrunner for 2016 , a no-nonsense politician with bipartisan appeal.

>> if this scandal continues it could be a drag in terms of whether or not he is successful in that effort.

>> reporter: in a statement tonight, the governor distances himself from an unnamed person in his staff and says that people will be held responsible for their actions. brian, it looks as if the story will make news in the coming days.

>> if you didn't say that i would, stephanie gosk, thank you.