NJ governor, Chris Christie, allegedly lied about the involvement of his top aides in bridge closure scandal
According to a new court filing, a former Chris Christie aide exchanged text messages with another colleague that the New Jersey governor “flat out lied” at a news conference regarding what and when his top aides knew about the George Washington Bridge lane closure.
The discrepancy in the governor’s position is in a transcript of the text of new court filings by attorneys representing Bill Baroni, who faces trial next month for allegedly helping orchestrate the lane closures for political revenge.Christie’s office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Attorneys for former Christie top aide Bill Baroni exposed the inconsistency. Baroni was charged with his involvement in the scandal
The text exchange is between Christina Renna, Christie’s director of intergovernmental affairs, and Peter Sheridan, a staffer on his re-election campaign. It came while the Republican governor was telling reporters at a news conference that no one in his office was involved.
Renna texted Sheridan that Christie “flat out lied” in saying his senior staff and campaign manager weren’t involved.
See the transscipt below:
In the filings in U.S. District Court in Newark, lawyers for a defendant in the lane closure trial , Bill Baroni, scheduled for September, disclosed a text exchange between two Christie staffers, Christina Renna and Peter Sheridan, during a December 2013 news conference, at which the governor said he had been assured that his administration and campaign had no knowledge of the closures.
Christie’s Director of intergovernmental Affairs, Christina Renna, exchanged texts with another aide during gov Christie’s press conference indicating he lied about the role of campaign manager, Bill Stepien
It states that While Christie was addressing the press Ms Renna sent this text “Are you listening?” to Mr. Sheridan, according to the filing. “He just flat out lied about senior staff and [campaign manager Bill] Stepien not being involved.”
“I’m listening… Gov is doing fine. Holding his own up there,” Sheridan responded.
“Yes. But he lied. And if emails are found with the subpoena or [Christie’s re-election campaign] emails are uncovered in discovery if it comes to that it could be bad.”
Christie denied the claim after appearing on a sports talk radio show in New York on Wednesday morning.
“I absolutely dispute it. It’s ridiculous. It’s nothing new,” is Christie’s response to these allegations. “There’s nothing new to talk about.”
Bill Stepien (l) and Chris Christie
Stepien has never been charged or directly implicated in the scandal, nor have Renna or Sheridan. Howver Christie fired Stepien a month after the contentious press conference when it was revealed he knew about the lane closures but was not involved.
According to Stepien’s attorney Kevin Marino, Renna’s prior testimony and the lack of charges against Stepien to again prove his innocence. “The suggestion that Mr. Stepien was nonetheless involved in a conspiracy to close access lanes to the George Washington Bridge based on a text message exchange that has been in the Government’s possession for years is categorically false and irresponsible,” Marino said in a statement.
Governor Christie has maintained he had no prior knowledge about the closures, which involved shutting down access lanes to the bridge, suposedly to exact political revenge against the Mayor of Fort Lee, a Democrat, for not endorsing the governor’s re-election bid. The lane closures caused days of gridlock during the first week of school that year.