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Christie and the Jersey traffic scandal

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New York governor, Chris Christie, answered a barrage of questions the past week which surrounded a four-day traffic situation that severely delayed morning commute on the George Washington Bridge between New York City and New Jersey those four days last September. Top advisers to Gov. Christie are under investigation, accused of intentionally causing the traffic jams as retaliation in “an alleged act of political retribution,” according to a CNN article on Sunday, Jan. 12. On Thursday, Jan. 9, Gov. Christie fired Bridget Anne Kelly, deputy chief of staff, for participation in the incident.

Christie-appointed Port Authority deputy director, Bill Baroni and David Wildstein, Port Authority director of interstate capital projects have both resigned their posts, presumably for their involvement in the fiasco. More than 2,000 documents released on Friday and a significant number of email messages with complaints concerning the four days of traffic jams caused by the lane closures from Fort Lee, NJ between Sept. 9 and Sept. 13 are currently under investigation by the New Jersey State Assembly. On one day, the three lanes usually handling traffic was reduced to a single lane to handle the same amount of traffic, making timely arrivals to work or appointments impossible. Lawsuits have subsequently been filed in protest of the inconvenience to commuters and a lack of swift transport to medical facilities due to unannounced and unexpected lane closures.

Friday, Jan. 10, Reuters summarized the affair described as a political scandal. Suzanne Garment for Reuters blogs that Christie had wanted New Jersey's Democratic mayor and all New Jersey Democratic elected officials to endorse his re-election. Fort Lee mayor, Mark Sokolich, a Democrat, had been one of several Democratic officials who had declined. According to NJ.com, Sokolich had not been the first of those Democratic officials to be on the receiving end of Christie's retribution.

Two days after Gov. Christie took to the airwaves with press conferences, apologizing for the September incident, Martha Raddatz standing in for George Stephanopoulos on This Week Sunday, Jan. 12 reported that New Jersey Democrats are pushing to expand inquiries into the alleged scandal beyond a federal investigation.

Chief Keith Bendual with the Fort Lee Police Department stated, “People that were supposed to be protecting the pubic, actually impaired public safety.”

“I had no knowledge — or involvement — in this issue. In its planning or in its execution,” said Gov. Christie during the press conference at Fort Lee.

“I am who I am,” said Christie, “but, I am not a bully.”

“This week, Gov. Christie will attempt to change the subject with his State of the State Address on Tuesday. And, then later in the week, [Christie] goes to Florida to fund-raise for other Republicans, leaving behind all those state legislators to whisper about impeachment and the federal prosecutors to ponder any charges,” ABC News correspondent, Jim Avila told Martha on This Week.

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