|Bridget Anne Kelly and legal team leave federal court on Tuesday. Katherine Taylor for The New York Times|
Kate Zernike of The New York Times reports today:
Bridget Anne Kelly discussed the George Washington Bridge lane closings with her boss, Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, before they happened in September 2013, her lawyer asserted in federal court here on Tuesday. She also discussed them with him the week they were happening.
The lawyer, Michael Critchley, did not elaborate on his cryptic claims, which he made while questioning a prosecution witness.
Testimony in the trial has shown that in the months after the lane closings, several of Mr. Christie’s top advisers had told him that Ms. Kelly, his former deputy chief of staff, had emails about the closings. Those people included his chief of staff, chief counsel, press secretary, chief political adviser and an aide he had tapped to lead the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which runs the bridge.
Yet Mr. Christie, a Republican, convened a staff meeting in December 2013 and angrily demanded to know if anyone had knowledge or emails about the closings. An hour later, he held a news conference where he said he was certain that none of his staff members had any knowledge of or had been involved in the scheme.
When emails with Ms. Kelly’s name appeared as a result of a legislative subpoena a month later, Mr. Christie held another news conference and declared that she had lied to him.
It was, Mr. Critchley said in court on Tuesday, a “sham.”
According to testimony in federal court here, where Ms. Kelly and another former Christie aide, Bill Baroni, are on trial for authorizing the lane closings and then covering them up, the governor’s office was not much concerned about finding the truth about the shutdown in the months after they took place.
Instead, the governor and his aides, keenly aware of Mr. Christie’s presidential ambitions and how a scandal could damage them, were more worried about keeping any evidence implicating his office hidden.
Cross-examining a former top Christie aide, Mr. Critchley offered tantalizing clues as to what Ms. Kelly may say on the stand about what Mr. Christie knew about the closings, which prosecutors say were meant to punish the mayor of Fort Lee, N.J., for refusing to endorse the governor’s re-election.
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