Bridgegate: Former aide testifies Chris Christie knew about lane closures

Former Chris Christe aide Bridget Anne Kelly testified in court Monday that the Governor knew about lane closures on the George Washington bridge. From Politico:

She testified that on the day of the Dec. 13, 2013 news conference, Christie hastily called a senior staff meeting and instructed the dozen or so people in the room to tell Kevin O’Dowd, the governor’s chief of staff, if they knew anything about the closures prior to the first media reports.

Kelly said she “reminded” O’Dowd that she had known, that he had known and the governor had known about the closures. She said they had discussed the closures several times in August and September.

“The first part of my discussion with Kevin O’Dowd was immediately following the staff meeting,” Kelly said in federal court Monday. “I said ‘Kevin, we spoke last night. I knew about the traffic study, you knew about the traffic study, the governor knew about the traffic study. Now there’s a subpoena for documents.’ I told him I did have documents and I did delete them.”

So Kelly claims that everyone, including Gov. Christie, knew about the “traffic study.” However, Kelly denies that she knew it was anything other than a traffic study. How does that jibe with her infamous email saying, “time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee”? According to Kelly, all of the statements she made in those emails, which seemed to indicate she was part of a political payback scheme, were misinterpreted. From

When Wildstein forwarded Kelly a text message from the mayor of Fort Lee, Mark Sokolich, complaining of the “maddening” traffic and school children being delayed, she wrote back: “Is it wrong that I’m smiling?” and “I feel badly about the kids. I guess.” The response suggests Kelly rejoiced in the news. She said that wasn’t the case.

A day earlier, Wildstein had reported to her that the first day of the study showed improved traffic at the “mainline” entrance to the bridge. And the purpose of the study, she said, was to lighten travel times for commuters crossing the span, for which Christie could claim credit.

Kelly explained that she had had “mixed feelings” about the mayor’s response. On one hand, she said, she was happy that the first day of what she believed was a traffic study had gone well, as Wildstein had reported to her, but on the other hand she felt sorry for the children stuck in traffic.

“I wasn’t sitting there smiling or gloating. I was happy for David and I should have used different words,” Kelly said.

So on the one hand Kelly is calling Christie a liar, saying he definitely knew there was a traffic study at a time he claimed not to know anything about the lane closures. On the other hand, Kelly is claiming that, contrary to what sound like gloating emails, she thought it was just a traffic study. She claims she started to feel she was being set up for a fall when everyone suddenly claimed not to know about the study.

The most damning evidence against Kelly is her own words in those emails. The emails still sound like gloating to me and if that part of her testimony isn’t true I’m not sure about the rest of it.

David Strom 12:41 PM on September 26, 2022