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Bridget Anne Kelly, the ex-deputy chief of staff to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie who sent the now infamous "time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee" email that seemingly kicked off the "Bridgegate" lane closure scandal, testified in court on Friday that she believed the lane closings were part of a legitimate traffic study — while also detailing her fear of the governor.
Kelly is on trial alongside Christie’s former top Port Authority official Bill Baroni. Federal prosecutors maintain the two were part of the September 2013 plot to create a massive traffic jam on the George Washington Bridge to punish the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee, New Jersey for refusing to endorse Christie for re-election.
Kelly claimed on the stand that she told Christie about the traffic study, but said she did not know it was a political revenge plot. A spokesman for Christie on Friday denied the Republican governor knew about the closure.
"Governor, by the way I spoke to David Wildstein and the Port Authority will be doing a traffic study in Fort Lee and I explained the access lanes. He said 'OK,'" Kelly said. "I told him there would be tremendous traffic in Fort Lee he didn't really react and said that's fine."
For four mornings in September 2013, two of the three lanes at the entrance to the bridge in Fort Lee were shut down, causing massive delays.
Related: Chris Christie Faces Misconduct Case
Wildstein, an ex-Port Authority official, has pleaded guilty in connection with the scheme and is the prosecution’s star witness. Earlier this month, he testified against Kelly and has maintained that Christie knew about the plot, which the governor has long denied. Wildstein has also said that he, Baroni and Kelly used the idea of a traffic study as a deliberate cover story.
Also Friday, Christie’s former top political adviser Mike DuHaime testified that Christie had been told that Kelly and another one of his staffers, Bill Stepien, knew about the lane closures — even though Christie told the media during a December 2013 news conference that he had "no reason to believe" his senior staff were involved.
Christie press secretary Brian Murray said said in a statement Friday that the Republican governor did not know about the lane closures.
"As the Governor has said since January 9, 2014, the Governor had no knowledge prior to or during these lane realignments, and he had no role in authorizing them. Anything said to the contrary is simply untrue," Murray said.
During her testimony a tearful Kelly also described Gov. Christie’s short temper, recounting how he once threw a water bottle at her during a discussion about an upcoming press conference.
"He had a water bottle in his hand and he said, 'What the f--- do you think I am? A f-----g game show host?" and then he threw a water bottle at her, she said, according to NBC New York. "I moved out of the way and it hit my arm."
When asked by her lawyer if she was afraid of Christie, Kelly said "yes."
Kelly is scheduled to testify for several more days. Both Kelly and Baroni face conspiracy and fraud charges. If they are convicted, they could face up to 20 years in prison.
Separately, Christie is expected to appear in court on Nov. 23 after receiving a criminal summons for official misconduct allegations in connection to the scandal.