USA TODAY -- New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie knew about the politically motivated lane closures on the George Washington Bridge as they were happening, according to a letter first obtained by The New York Times.
The letter by the attorney for David Wildstein, who was Christie's appointee on the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, says the governor knew about the lane closures, which are at the heart of a scandal threatening Christie's political future.
The letter by Alan Zegas describes "the Christie administration order" and said "evidence exists as well tying Mr. Christie to having knowledge of the lane closures, during the period when the lanes were closed, contrary to what the governor stated publicly in a two-hour press conference."
"Mr. Wildstein contests the accuracy of various statements that the governor made about him and he can prove the inaccuracy of some," the letter says.
Wildstein, who resigned in December, has been central in the investigations into the lane closures that occurred in September and snarled traffic in Fort Lee over four days. The lane closures were apparently retribution against Mark Sokolich, the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee, who declined to endorse Christie's bid for a second term.
Wildstein, Christie and others had original claimed the lane closures were the result of a traffic study. But copies of e-mails released earlier in January showed the lane closings were discussed in August between Wildstein, a high school friend of Christie's, and Bridget Anne Kelly, then Christie's deputy chief of staff.
"Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee," Kelly wrote to Wildstein.
"Got it," Wildstein replied.
Christie said he fired Kelly and cut ties to Bill Stepien, who ran his 2009 and 2013 campaigns, and insisted during an extraordinary news conference earlier this month that he was "blindsided" by the content of the e-mails.
(Contributing: Asbury Park Press)