Fort Lee lane closure scandal
The Fort Lee lane closure scandal, also known as the George Washington Bridge lane closure scandal or Bridgegate, is a U.S. political scandal in which a staff member and certain political appointees of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie collaborated to create traffic jams in Fort Lee, New Jersey, by closing local lanes at an eastbound upper-level toll plaza entrance to the George Washington Bridge.
The problems began on Monday, September 9, 2013, when two of three toll lanes were closed to traffic from Fort Lee prior to the morning rush hour and reallocated to the main traffic from state and interstate expressways. The resulting massive back-ups and gridlock on local streets only ended when the lanes were reopened on Friday, September 13, 2013 by an order from Port Authority Executive Director Patrick Foye, who said that the PA's procedure protocols had been subverted without his knowledge and that he believed the closures were unlawful. Local area officials and emergency services officers, as well as the general public, were not notified of the lane closures. Fort Lee officials declared the unannounced closures a threat to public safety. The exact motives for the traffic disruptions are unclear. One frequently cited theory is that they were political retribution against Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich, a Democrat, for not endorsing Christie, a Republican, in the 2013 gubernatorial election. Investigators are also examining other possible motives, such as whether the closures were intended to affect Sokolich's promotion of a major real estate development project that was underway at the Fort Lee bridge access point.
Christie said in a February 2014 radio interview that he “unequivocally” had no knowledge of, and did not approve or authorize plans to close the local toll lanes, and found out about the traffic jams from a Wall Street Journal story when it reported on a leaked e-mail from Port Authority Executive Director Patrick Foye after the lanes had reopened. Christie was cleared by an investigation report prepared by a law firm hired for the governor's office. Critics and a majority of New Jerseyans, surveyed in subsequent opinion polls, believed the report was a "whitewash" and disagreed with many of its findings. Critics also noted that the law firm was unable to interview key participants involved in the planning or aftermath of the lane closures and related controversies, who refused to be interviewed for the report, which they claimed read like a legal brief on behalf of the governor instead of an even-handed analysis of the evidence.
Several of Christie's appointees and aides either resigned or were forced out as investigations into their involvement in the planning or aftermath of the closures intensified. David Wildstein, on whose direct orders the traffic lanes had been closed, and Bill Baroni, who had told the New Jersey Assembly Transportation Committee that the closures had only been for a traffic study, resigned following sworn testimony by Foye and other PA officials that the two men had violated protocols and had sought to hide their plans for the lane closings from Fort Lee and other officials. Bridget Anne Kelly, Christie's deputy chief of staff, who had e-mailed Wildstein advising him that it was "time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee", was fired by Christie, who said she had not been forthcoming with him about her involvement in the closures. Christie's close political adviser and election campaign manager, Bill Stepien, resigned after Christie said that he was disturbed by the tone of Stepiens's emails related to the lane closures. David Samson, chairman of the Port Authority, resigned on March 28, 2014.
Christie sustained a substantial erosion in his political standing and 2016 presidential campaign prospects, as federal prosecutor and state legislative investigations were opened and more information became publicly available about the scandal.
As of April 2014, investigations were underway by the United States Attorney for the District of New Jersey, the New Jersey Legislature, and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
- 1 Background
- 2 Key people
- 3 Events
- 4 Early media coverage
- 5 Investigations
- 5.1 Assembly Transportation Committee investigation
- 5.2 Special legislative investigative committees
- 5.3 Port Authority investigation
- 5.4 U.S. Attorney investigation
- 5.5 U.S. Senate inquiry
- 5.6 Office of the Governor investigation
- 5.7 Legal representation for key people and organizations
- 6 Other allegations concerning David Samson
- 7 Lawsuits
- 8 Christie's responses
- 9 Reactions and impact
- 10 Speculation as to motives
- 11 Timeline
- 12 See also
- 13 References
- 14 External links
The George Washington Bridge, a double-decked toll bridge, is the busiest motor-vehicle bridge in the world, with a toll to go from New Jersey to New York. There are 29 operating toll lanes, spread among three toll plazas. At the main toll plaza for the upper level, there are twelve toll lanes and a Fort Lee entrance at Martha Washington Way (also called Park Avenue). During rush hours, for the past 30 years or longer,(p86) the three lanes located farthest to the right (south end of the toll plaza) are ordinarily reserved for local traffic entering from Fort Lee and the surrounding communities. This local traffic is segregated by movable traffic cones from the heavier traffic of the major highways. There are other Fort Lee street entrances, which do not have dedicated toll lanes, to the lower and upper levels of the bridge.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ or simply the PA) is overseen by a Board of Commissioners. Under an informal power-sharing agreement, the Governor of New Jersey chooses the chairman of the board and the deputy executive director, while the Governor of New York selects the vice-chairman and executive director.
Chris Christie, a Republican, was first elected Governor of New Jersey in November 2009 and re-elected in November 2013. During his first term, he appointed Bill Baroni as deputy executive director of the PA. David Wildstein, a local politician and political blogger who had known Christie during high school, was hired by Baroni based on Christie's referral and recommendation in May 2010. As director of interstate capital projects, Wildstein was New Jersey's second highest executive at the Port Authority, and often substituted for Baroni at major meetings.
|Port Authority (PA)|
|Bill Baroni||Deputy Executive Director
(Appointed by Christie)
|Resigned on December 13, 2013; as supervisor of David Wildstein, he has been accused of collaborating in the planning and trying to cover up the toll lane closures. Baroni now works for the Hill Wallack law firm's office in Princeton.|
|Patrick "Pat" Foye||Executive Director
(Appointed by Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo)
|Authored e-mail critical of closure and ordered re-opening of the local toll lanes on September 13, 2013.|
|David Samson||Chairman of the PA Board of Commissioners
(Appointed by Christie)
Partner in Wolff & Samson law firm
|Was involved in addressing the aftermath, as shown in a series of subpoenaed written communications; Samson's law practice generated complaints of conflict of interest with his PA role; resigned from the PA on March 28, 2014.|
|David Wildstein||Director of Interstate Capital Projects
(Recommended by Christie; hired by and worked under Baroni)
|Resigned on December 13, 2013 since he planned and covered up the toll lane closures; gave direct orders to PA staff to implement the toll lane closures and to make no disclosures to Fort Lee officials and the public.|
|Office of the Governor|
|Chris Christie||Governor of New Jersey||Claimed no direct knowledge about his aides' involvement until he read news on January 8, 2014, based on subpoenaed communications; authorized an internal investigation in Dec 2013 that purportedly showed no involvement by his staff.|
|Michael Drewniak||Press Secretary to Christie||Was involved in addressing the aftermath and media inquiries at the governor's office and some at the PA, as shown in subpoenaed written communications. Testified before a federal grand jury on April 4, 2014.|
|Regina Egea||Director of the Authorities Unit||Received the Foye e-mail on September 13, 2013; was scheduled to replace O'Dowd if his nomination to State Attorney General was confirmed by the New Jersey Senate.|
|Bridget Anne Kelly||Deputy Chief of Staff for Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs||Authored August 13, 2013, e-mail to Wildstein: "Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee"; fired by Christie on January 9, 2014.|
|Charlie McKenna||Chief Counsel to Christie||Ran Dec 2013 investigation into Governor's Office involvement (with O'Dowd); became director of NJSDA that month and was replaced by Christopher Porrino; purportedly the "Charlie" in subpoenaed texts and e-mails.|
|Kevin O'Dowd||Chief of Staff to Christie||Ran Governor's Office investigation (with McKenna); nominated in December 2013 for State Attorney General; January confirmation hearing was postponed due to potential conflict since he ran Christie's investigation.|
|Bill Stepien||Christie's political consultant and election campaign manager (including governor elections in 2009 and 2013); Former Deputy Chief of Staff for intergovernmental affairs (prior to Fort Lee scandal events)||Removed by Christie on January 8, 2014, as political adviser, and nominee for Republican Party State Chairman for NJ, due to his comments about the aftermath based on subpoenaed communications. Stepien now works for FLS Connect, a Republican voter contact consulting firm in Minnesota with previous ties to Christie.|
|State and Federal Investigators|
|Paul J. Fishman||United States Attorney for the District of New Jersey||Opened an inquiry in January 2014; in 2009, sworn into his position, which had been held by Christie in 2008.|
|Reid Schar||Special counsel to a joint special investigative committee for the New Jersey Legislature||To assist the committee in the legal aspects of their investigation; Jenner & Block, Schar's law firm, represented Assembly Democrats in New Jersey's legislative redistricting battles of 2011 and 2001.|
|Loretta Weinberg||Co-chair of a joint special investigative committee for the New Jersey Legislature||State Senate majority leader (Democrat); On January 27, 2014, the New Jersey Senate and Assembly voted to create a joint committee in order to take over the investigation from the Assembly Transportation Committee.|
|John Wisniewski||Co-chair of a joint special investigative committee for the New Jersey Legislature and chair of Assembly Transportation Committee||Deputy speaker and Democratic member of the Assembly; Transportation Committee began hearings in November 2013 and obtained subpoenaed documents that began to identify key figures and their actions in the toll lane closures and alleged cover-up.|
During the week of August 4, 2013, Christie met with David Samson, Christie's appointed chairman of the Board of Commissioners of the Port Authority. The deputy speaker of the New Jersey Assembly, John Wisniewski, who, as chair of the Assembly Transportation Committee had been leading the Assembly's investigation into the closures, alleged that David Wildstein, the Christie appointee who ordered the closures, must have believed the meeting was related to the lane closures, because a reference to the meeting was included in the subpoenaed documents Wildstein submitted in which all information not pertaining to the Fort Lee lane closures had been redacted.
On August 13, Bridget Anne Kelly, deputy chief of staff in Christie's office, sent an eight-word e-mail to David Wildstein, a senior official at the PA with close ties to Christie, that read, "Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee." Wildstein responded to Kelly's e-mail: "Got it."
On September 6, Wildstein instructed George Washington Bridge manager, Robert Durando, not to tell anyone in Fort Lee about the upcoming closure, not even the police. When he questioned the order, which he thought was "odd" since he had never been instructed in his 35-year career not to tell host town officials about an event that would disrupt traffic, Wildstein told him "it would impact the study" if people knew and Wildstein "wanted to see what would naturally happen".
Wildstein sent an e-mail the same day to Kelly informing her that Christie had approved $60,000 to fund a traffic study for Springfield in Union County. The Democratic mayor, David Amlen, did not endorse Christie for re-election and was not informed of the approval of their requested traffic study until after Christie won re-election.
Prior to the morning rush hour on Monday, September 9, 2013, two of the three dedicated toll lanes at one of the Fort Lee entrances to the upper level of the GW Bridge were closed to local use, and were reallocated to the main highway traffic, on orders from Wildstein without notification of Fort Lee government and police officials. In an area that normally experiences a great deal of traffic, the lane closings caused a significant increase in traffic congestion. This led to major delays for school transportation and police and emergency responses within Fort Lee, both during and after the peak hours of travel, starting on the first day of the school year.
According to the Fort Lee emergency medical services coordinator, traffic jams delayed paramedic response times, including a 9-1-1 call for Florence Genova, who subsequently died of cardiac arrest. In January 2014, her daughter told The New York Times that she "wants to stay out of it. It's politics". She noted her mother's advanced age (91) and opined that "it was just her time".
In at least one instance, emergency medical workers were forced to leave their ambulance and respond on foot because traffic congestion was so heavy. Emergency responders were delayed nearly one hour in rendering assistance to a man experiencing chest pains.
Within hours of the closure, various Port Authority officials were being told that the traffic delays posed a threat to public safety. At 9:29 a.m., Matthew Bell, a special assistant to Bill Baroni, e-mailed Baroni regarding "urgent matter of public safety in Fort Lee". Fort Lee borough administrator Peggy Thomas e-mailed the PA's director of government and community relations, Tina Lado, with her concerns, noting that police and emergency departments received no advance notice of the closures. At 11:24 a.m., Lado e-mailed both Wildstein and Baroni informing them that due to the closures, police and ambulances were having difficulty responding to emergencies. That e-mail noted two specific incidents: a missing child (later found) and a cardiac arrest. These safety warnings were reportedly ignored.
Deputy Chief of Staff Bridget Kelly e-mailed Wildstein and asked about his response, if any, to Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich. Wildstein responded: "Radio silence. His name comes right after Mayor Fulop [of Jersey City]."
On Tuesday, September 10, Sokolich texted Baroni: "Presently we have four very busy traffic lanes merging into only one toll booth.... bigger problem is getting kids to school. Help please. It's maddening." Kelly's text message exchange with Wildstein referred to the mayor's message. Kelly asked, "Is it wrong that I am smiling?" Wildstein replied, "No." Kelly then wrote, "I feel badly about the kids. I guess." Wildstein responded, "They are the children of Buono voters," referring to Barbara Buono, Christie's Democratic opponent in the November election.
On Wednesday, September 11, Robert Durando said in a Port Authority e-mail that if the automated toll lanes were closed permanently in favor of one manned lane for local traffic, it would be "very expensive" since annual toll-collector costs would increase approximately $600,000. This would have covered overtime, as well as stationing reserve employees when a scheduled toll collector was not able to work. He said there would be additional, but still to be determined costs, for PA police due to their coverage of traffic for a greatly extended rush hour.
On Thursday, September 12, PA engineers said that reported delays for local traffic greatly exceeded any time savings for the major highway traffic based on reported information for vehicle travel times on Interstate 95 and local traffic counts from that week. In an internal PowerPoint presentation, it was estimated that the extra daily morning rush hour time, 2,800 vehicle-hours, endured by local traffic on a typical day greatly outweighed time savings, 966 vehicle-hours, for the I-95 traffic.
Sokolich wrote to Baroni that "many members of the public have informed me that the PA police officers are advising commuters [...] that this recent traffic debacle is the result of a decision that I, as the Mayor, recently made."
Re-opening and immediate aftermath
|Wikisource has original text related to this article:|
On Friday, September 13, 2013, Patrick Foye, the executive director of the Port Authority and an appointee of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, ordered that the lanes be reopened in a strongly worded e-mail to senior PA officials and staff, including Bill Baroni and David Samson. In the e-mail, Foye called the decision to close the lanes "hasty and ill-advised", said that the decision violated policy and long-standing custom at the PA, and that he believed that closing the lanes "violates Federal Law and the laws of both States." Foye asked his spokesman to get the word out. Upon learning this, Baroni attempted to prevent any disclosure in order to keep the public in the dark. Additionally, Baroni forwarded the e-mail to Regina Egea, Christie's Director of the authorities unit overseeing the PA, three hours after it was sent by Foye.
During and after the lane closures, "hundreds of pages of e-mails and internal documents" showed "how Christie loyalists inside the PA worked to orchestrate a cover-up after traffic mayhem" in Fort Lee. In September, as more reporters began asking about the GW Bridge problems, officials conferred on how to respond. On September 13, The Record reported the outrage commuters were expressing toward the PA following days of long, inbound delays, and Fort Lee officials' unsuccessful efforts to get an explanation. Then on September 16, a Wall Street Journal reporter asked PA spokesman Coleman about what had occurred after some Journal editors had been in traffic the previous week. "Coleman passed the query up the chain of command" and Wildstein forwarded it to Baroni, commenting "I call bullshit on this." Further inquiries were directed by Coleman to Baroni and Wildstein, asking how they wanted the PA to respond, and Wildstein forwarded one of these inquiries to Christie's press secretary and chief spokesman, Michael Drewniak. Coleman also wrote to Baroni and Wildstein, "I will not respond unless instructed to do so."
On September 17, Wildstein informed Baroni that he had received a call from Wall Street Journal reporter Tedd Mann. "Jesus", Baroni replied, "Call Drewniak".
The e-mails showed efforts by Christie appointees in the PA and his office in Trenton to respond to the aftermath and media inquiries for the toll lane closures. The participants included Christie appointees Baroni, Wildstein, and PA Chairman Samson, as well as Drewniak and Maria Comella, Communications Director. In a September 18 e-mail, Samson warned that Foye is "playing in traffic, made a big mistake" in response to a leak to The Wall Street Journal for their September 17 story citing unnamed PA officials as saying the decision to close the toll lanes had caused tensions within the bi-state agency.
In other communications, officials used an ethnic pejorative to refer to the Fort Lee mayor. In an e-mail from Wildstein responding to Bill Stepien, he said "It will be a tough November for this little Serbian", derogatorily referring to Sokolich, who is Croatian-American. Baroni referred to "Serbia" in text messages in another apparent reference to Mayor Sokolich. Sokolich told The Huffington Post: "That slight is offensive to me, and it's offensive to me of everyone of Serbian background. If I were Serbian, I would be absolutely, positively appalled by it." The Serbian remarks received the attention of Serbian and Croatian media, and was commented upon by the Serbian government's Office for Cooperation with the Diaspora and Serbs in the Region.
On October 9, Philippe Danielides, a senior adviser to Samson, e-mailed Wildstein a daily news summary and asked "Has any thought been given to writing an op-ed or providing a statement about the GWB study? Or is the plan just to hunker down and grit our way through it?" Wildstein replied "Yes and yes" and forwarded these e-mails to Baroni. Wildstein sought advice from Drewniak, with the two meeting in person on December 4. On December 6, Wildstein announced he would resign at the end of the year, saying the response to the traffic lanes closure had become "a distraction". At a December 13 press conference, Christie announced the immediate resignations of Baroni and Wildstein.
Early media coverage
The first story in the media about the lane closures, and the first to bring politics into the mix, was reported by The Record's John Cichowski in his September 13, Road Warrior column that there was speculation that Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich was punished "either for failing to endorse Governor Christie's election bid or for pushing through a $500 million, 47-story high-rise housing development near the bridge, or for failing to support the Port's last toll hike."
On September 17, Ted Mann of The Wall Street Journal wrote a story about what could have possibly prompted the Port Authority to close toll lanes to local traffic without public notifications. Citing anonymous sources, he reported that "the decision to close the traffic lanes caused tension" since "the lane closures came as a surprise to some high-ranking officials at the bi-state agency." He said that the toll lanes were reopened to local traffic based on an order from Executive Director Patrick Foye, "who argued that the abrupt shift in traffic patterns caused a threat to public safety and should have been advertised to the public ahead of time."
On October 1, his newspaper report was the first to address the contents and quote some of the text from Foye's September 13, 2013 e-mail to PA officials ordering the toll lanes to be reopened, while denouncing the closures as an "abusive decision" and pledging to investigate "how PA process was wrongfully subverted and the public interest damaged" without Foye's knowledge. The e-mail said that there were potential violations of state and federal laws. PA insiders disputed that there was a traffic study. All of this reinforced the reported rumors that the toll lanes might have been closed by political surrogates of Governor Chris Christie, a Republican, as an alleged act of political retribution against Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich, a Democrat, for not endorsing Christie in his 2013 re-election campaign. The Record, The Wall Street Journal, and other news media continued to investigate the matter in comprehensive reporting over the next few months, using sources and requests for public records.
The scandal broke in full on January 8, 2014, with an online story by The Record that Christie's deputy chief of staff Bridget Kelly was involved in the planning of the toll lane closures. That revelation catapulted the story into a national political event. The Record continued with details of the dialogues in the troves of e-mails and texts supplied to the New Jersey Assembly Transportation Committee by David Wildstein. The Record described "vindictive lane closures" that were intended to cause massive traffic jams in Fort Lee. Related news with quotes from the e-mails and texts were subsequently published the same day in other news media.
During his January 9 press conference about the scandal, Governor Christie cited The Record as breaking the pivotal story on January 8.
According to The New York Times, the e-mails discussing the lane closure "could represent evidence that government resources were used for political purposes, a potential crime". According to legal experts, federal prosecutors also could "examine whether the obstruction of interstate commerce on the bridge between New Jersey and New York" violated federal law, and either federal or state prosecutors also might "build a cover-up case, rather than one based on the traffic tie-ups themselves".
On January 17, Alan Zegas, Wildstein's attorney, said that his client would offer to shed light on the scandal on the condition that he is given immunity from prosecution from the relevant federal and state law enforcement agencies. There has not been any offer of immunity from the office of the United States Attorney for the District of New Jersey, which is reviewing the matter.
A joint legislative committee, New Jersey Legislative Select Committee on Investigation, was created on January 27 to take over the original investigation by the Assembly Transportation Committee.
Assembly Transportation Committee investigation
On October 2, 2013, Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D-Middlesex), said that he would open an investigation with the Assembly Transportation Committee to determine whether or not the lane closures were politically motivated.
The first hearing was held on November 25, for which Bill Baroni attended on behalf of the PA. Baroni, who was not sworn in to testify under oath, said that David Wildstein had ordered a study to determine if closing two of the Fort Lee toll lanes, and assigning them to mainline traffic, would shorten delays for commuters from other parts of New Jersey. Baroni argued that it was unfair that Fort Lee drivers occupied three out of the 12 lanes on the upper level, despite being only 4.5% of all traffic. Committee members pointed out that 4.5% was based on the number of E-ZPass users from Fort Lee that use all approaches to the bridge, and that vehicles from many other towns, besides Fort Lee, use that Fort Lee entrance. He admitted the actual percentage of vehicles, which utilize that Fort Lee entrance, could be higher than 4.5% of overall traffic, and also failed to mention that there are actually 29 operating toll lanes for the bridge when comparing the three dedicated toll lanes for this entrance.
Baroni said that with the reduction in Fort Lee toll lanes, traffic data showed that the mainline traffic travel times in the express lanes' approach to the bridge were about four minutes faster on two days. He apologized for what he acknowledged was the agency's failure to properly communicate with local officials and the public in advance of this project. Following the hearing, Wisniewski called the closures at best "clumsy and ham-handed" and at worst "political mischief by a political appointee and another political appointee that they did not make available for testimony", referring to Wildstein's non-attendance.
- Wildstein: You did great
- Baroni: Trenton feedback?
- Wildstein: Good
- Wildstein: [Senator Kevin] O'Toole statement ready
- Baroni: Just good? Shit
- Wildstein: No I have only texted brudget [Bridget Anne Kelly] and Nicole they were VERY happy
- Wildstein: Both said you are doing great
- Wildstein: Charlie said you did GREAT
O'Toole released a statement that day to the media, echoing various talking points from Baroni's presentation. All of this suggested that O'Toole had prior communications with Wildstein and possibly Baroni.
According to a Republican source, it appeared that "Nicole" refers to Nicole Crifo (then senior counsel to the authorities unit in the Governor's office), who was served in the February 10 round of subpoenas, rather than Nicole Davidman Drewniak (Finance Director for Christie's 2013 election campaign and wife of Michael Drewniak), who was served with the round of subpoenas due February 3. In January 2014, Crifo quietly took a job in the PA as chief of staff to Bill Baroni's replacement as deputy director, Deborah Gramiccioni.
On December 9, Wisniewski subpoenaed Foye and career PA staffers to testify under oath about the lane closures. Robert Durando, George Washington Bridge manager, said that he feared retaliation if he did not follow Wildstein's orders to close two toll lanes to local traffic and not notify local officials or the public about these changes. Durando and Cedrick Fulton, director of tunnels, bridges, and terminals, both said that they were personally told by Wildstein that he would notify Foye of the change. Foye said that he was unaware of any traffic study until he ordered its termination on September 13, and blamed Wildstein for the toll lane changes, while believing Baroni was involved in the planning. When Wildstein called Fulton on September 6 to inform him that the lane closures would begin on September 9, Fulton explained that he thought that was unusual since planning for traffic disruptions on major facilities typically starts years in advance. He said that he told Wildstein, “This will not end well”, due to expected traffic problems.
Redacted documents were turned over under a subpoena to investigators of the committee and those documents were turned over to The New York Times and other news media. On January 8, 2014, The Star-Ledger, The Record, The New York Times, and other news media published e-mails and text messages tying Bridget Kelly, deputy chief of staff in Christie's office, to the closure. The content of the released communications said that the lane closures were ordered with the knowledge that they would cause a massive traffic jam. Christie released a statement later that day denying knowledge of the scandal, rebuking Kelly for her role in the lane closure event, and vowing that "people will be held responsible for their actions" in the affair.
A Republican member of the Assembly committee complained that the Republican members had not been given sufficient time to review the subpoenaed documents in advance of hearing testimony: "Allowing Republican committee members less than 24 hours to review more than 900 pages of information is a disservice to the bipartisan committee process.... As chairman, he [Wisniewski] should be impartial and provide committee members, regardless of their political affiliation, a reasonable opportunity to review documents he has had access to for weeks".
On January 9, 2014, David Wildstein, who appeared with his attorney, Alan Zegas, refused to testify before the committee, invoking the right against self-incrimination in the federal and New Jersey constitutions. The committee voted to hold Wildstein in contempt, asserting that the right against self-incrimination did not apply in such a hearing.
Wisniewski said "I do think laws have been broken. Public resources—the bridge, police officers—all were used for a political purpose, for some type of retribution, and that violates the law". He called it "unbelievable" that Christie did not know anything about his aides' plans, stating: "It's hard to really accept the governor's statement that he knew nothing until the other morning". He also raised the issue of the potential for Christie's impeachment if Christie was aware of his aides' actions.
Special legislative investigative committees
On January 16, the New Jersey Assembly and Senate each created committees to take over the investigation from the Assembly Transportation Committee. The Assembly committee hired Reid Schar as special counsel, who would assist in the investigation. He is a former assistant U.S. attorney from Illinois who assisted in the prosecution of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich.
The New Jersey Assembly re-authorized the legislative subpoena powers, which were immediately used to subpoena two organizations and 18 individuals (including Christie's appointees and aides listed in the Key Figures table above) in Christie's administration, his 2013 election campaign, and the Port Authority. Those receiving subpoenas were instructed to submit by February 3 all documents and communications, going back to September 1, 2012, related to the reassignment of the two toll lanes during the week of September 9, 2013, and any attempts to conceal the activities or reasons related to that incident. While Christie himself was not subpoenaed, his governor's office and 2013 campaign organization received subpoenas.
New Jersey Legislative Select Committee on Investigation
On January 21, Assemblyman Wisniewski and State Senate majority leader Loretta Weinberg, whose district includes Fort Lee, announced that the Senate and Assembly committees were being merged into a bi-partisan joint investigative committee of 12 members, and that they would co-chair the New Jersey Legislative Select Committee on Investigation. While the committee initially focused on the Bridgegate scandal, it had the power to investigate other allegations against the Christie administration.
On January 24, the members of the bi-partisan committee were announced. It consisted of eight Assembly representatives, including five Democrats and three Republicans, and four Senators, including three Democrats and one Republican. At the time, 40% of the members of the New Jersey Legislature were Republican. Besides the two Democratic co-chairs, members included Assemblywoman Marlene Caride (D-Bergen), Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll (R-Morris), Senator Nia Gill (D-Essex), Senator Linda Greenstein (D-Middlesex), Assembly Majority Leader Louis Greenwald (D-Camden), Assemblywoman Amy Handlin (R-Monmouth), Assemblywoman Valerie Huttle (D-Bergen), Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi (R-Bergen), Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-Mercer), and an unnamed Republican Senator. On January 27, both houses voted unanimously to combine the investigations, maintaining the partisan balance, and announced Kevin O'Toole's (R-Essex) inclusion, despite his mention in a December 5 e-mail from Wildstein to Michael Drewniak.
As a precautionary move, the new investigative committee re-issued subpoenas that had been sent earlier, with the requested records still due on the original deadline, February 3.
In a January 31 letter to Reid Schar, general counsel for the legislative committee, Kevin Marino, the attorney for Stepien, said that he would not submit anything in response to their subpoena and requested its withdrawal, citing his client's Fifth Amendment right and New Jersey common law privileges against self-incrimination, with regard to the criminal inquiry underway by the U.S. Attorney, and Fourth Amendment and New Jersey Constitution (Article I, paragraph 7) rights against unreasonable search and seizure. Wisniewski said the subpoena was perfectly sound, and that Schar would review the attorney’s objections and consider the committee's legal options. Michael Critchley, the attorney for Kelly, submitted a letter that his client would not comply with the subpoena based on similar claims.
On February 3, Wisniewski and Weinberg issued a statement, without details, that some responses to subpoenas had been received and that extensions for submissions had been granted to others. Mark Sheridan, an attorney for Christie's campaign organization, said it had been granted an extension while it awaited an opinion from the state Election Law Enforcement Commission, which on February 11 allowed the campaign to use existing funds and raise funds to pay its legal bills in response to the NJ Legislature and federal subpoenas for general evidence. It could not use those funds in response to any criminal investigations.
On February 10, the committee voted to reject the objections raised by the lawyers of Stepien and Kelly to not comply with the subpoenas for their records, and to compel Stepien and Kelly to produce all related documents, instructing special counsel Reid Schar to "take all necessary steps" to enforce the subpoenas. All four Republicans abstained in the vote. They claimed that they did not have enough time to review the legal arguments, including Fifth Amendment rights, presented in Schar's legal brief countering the lawyers' objections.
On the same day, the committee announced it was issuing 18 new subpoenas to individuals within the Governor's office and the Port Authority that also included new recipients, as well as the Governor's office itself and Christie's 2013 re-election campaign. The new recipients included assistants to Foye, Wildstein, Baroni, and Kelly. Other new PA recipients included Christie referral, Phillip Kwon, deputy general counsel, Christie appointee William "Pat" Schuber, a commissioner, who had served in a variety of local, county, and state elected positions in New Jersey, and Steve Coleman, deputy director of media relations. One of the subpoenas was sent to the New Jersey State Police aviation unit for flight information records when Christie used a state helicopter during the toll lane closings. An agency spokesperson said that Christie had not used one to fly over the Fort Lee area during the lane closings. The subpoenas also sought information related to any dossiers compiled by Christie's re-election campaign and his Governor's office on Fort Lee Mayor Sokolich.
The subpoenas sought information for records from staff at the PA and the Governor's office related to preparations for Baroni's presentation to the Assembly Transportation Committee's November 25, 2013 hearing. Wildstein's attorney had claimed that Wildstein was present during some of the times when Kwon, who attended the committee hearing, helped prepare Baroni over several days for his presentation about a traffic study and other issues related to the local toll lane closures. A PA spokesman said: "Meeting with a witness prior to testimony is a routine function of any lawyer and any attempt to assign ulterior motives to this general practice is unwarranted." Kwon served as first assistant attorney general during Christie's first term as governor and previously worked for him in the U.S. Attorney General's office in New Jersey. He was also Christie's 2012 Supreme Court justice nominee, who was blocked by Democratic state legislative members.
One of the subpoenas sought documents from the PANYNJ related to toll increases for the tunnels and bridges and Christie's 2010 decision to cancel the Access to the Region's Core project, specifically with regard to projected cost overruns. It also requested the names of job candidates sent by Christie's office to the agency.
On February 19, it was reported that the co-chairs said that the committee would need to question Senator O'Toole about what he knew, including any communications with Baroni and/or Wildstein, prior to Baroni's November 25 presentation to the Assembly Transportation Committee. A previously redacted November 25 text message from Wildstein to Baroni said that O'Toole was ready with a statement, which was issued to the media, that echoed talking points from Baroni's same day presentation and attacked the Democrats investigating these issues. O'Toole followed up with an editorial in The Record that elaborated on these talking points and attacks. It raised further questions on whether O'Toole should continue to serve on the committee.
On February 28, Bonnie Watson Coleman withdrew from the committee, a day after she called on Christie to resign as governor due to the culture of bullying she says was fostered under him. On March 21, Assembly Speaker Vincent Pietro named Assemblyman Paul Moriarty (D-Camden) to fill that vacancy.
On March 31, Wisniewski announced the intention to subpoena notes, records, and interviews from the inquiry conducted for the Governor's Office by Randy Mastro of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, since they had not been made available to the committee. Wisniewski said that there would be questions about the objectivity and independence of that investigation if subpoenaed items were withheld. In response, Mastro released a statement saying that the Governor's Office did not release interview transcripts because of its cooperation with the U.S. Attorney’s Office's investigation and would respond to any subpoena request, when received. These matters could go to court if the Governor's Office tried to exercise any rights not to provide subpoenaed items. On April 11, the committee received the list of 75 persons interviewed by Mastro's team. Wisniewski said that he expected all existing interview materials in "whatever form", or the committee would issue a subpoena. The interview notes, marked "privileged and confidential attorney opinion work product", were turned over to the legislative committee and U.S. Attorney's Office, and publicly released online on April 14, without a subpoena. Wisniewski and Weinberg said in a joint statement that the committee reserved the right to request or subpoena further information, if required.
On April 9, the committee's investigation was dealt a setback when New Jersey Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobson ruled that Stepien and Kelly do not have to hand over subpoenaed documents since the subpoenas were written too broadly, like a "fishing expedition". The judge also said that the subpoenas, as written, “clearly violate” federal and state protections against self-incrimination and unlawful search and seizure. The ruling said that Kelly and Stepien could assert their Fifth Amendment rights because of the investigation by the U.S. Attorney in New Jersey, and these documents could provide a "link in the chain of evidence needed to prosecute the claimant for a federal crime". The judge suggested that the committee could consider reissuing subpoenas with more limited document requests that could be acceptable. Legal experts agreed with that approach, and also suggested that electronic copies of the original subpoenaed documents could be obtained through subpoenas of system servers that store those documents since individuals do not have any personal right to bar the subpoena of a server.
The judge also expressed reservations about having jurisdictional powers to compel the turnover of subpoenaed documents since "the committee has the power to enforce its own subpoenas through orders to compel and grant immunity in return." The lawyers for Stepien and Kelly have contended that the committee could grant their clients immunity from criminal prosecution in exchange for the documents. Reid Schar said that the committee has no such powers.
Port Authority investigation
On February 16, 2014, Executive Director Pat Foye ordered the inspector general and PA Police Chief Louis Koumoutsos to examine PA Police Lieutenant Thomas "Chip" Michaels for his role in chauffeuring Wildstein on an observation tour on the first day of the closures and allegations of PA Police officers telling frustrated motorists to direct their ire at Mayor Sokolich. Michaels had at least one day's advance knowledge of the closure. Lt. Michaels and his brother Jeffrey Michaels (a GOP lobbyist in Trenton) are childhood friends of Christie.
U.S. Attorney investigation
On January 9, 2014, Paul J. Fishman, the United States Attorney for the District of New Jersey, opened a preliminary federal inquiry into matters related to the toll lane closures. Rebekah Carmichael, public affairs officer for the U.S. attorney's office, said in a statement: "The Port Authority Office of Inspector General has referred the matter to us, and our office is reviewing it to determine whether a federal law was implicated." Whether anyone will be federally prosecuted in the scandal is uncertain.
The U.S. Attorney, whose office did not identify who was served, began an official investigation and issued grand jury subpoenas for documents related to the Bridgegate scandal to various people and entities. Mark Sheridan, a partner with Patton Boggs, which had been retained to represent Christie's 2013 re-election campaign organization and the New Jersey Republican State Committee in connection with investigations into this scandal, said on January 23 that both organizations had received subpoenas. On February 3, Christie said that his Governor's Office received a subpoena. The Federal Bureau of Investigation is assisting he U.S. Attorney in its investigation.
Prosecutors at the U.S. Attorney's Office met with Mayor Sokolich on February 21 and Governor Christie's press secretary, Michael Drewniak, as a "fact witness", on February 27. Drewniak, who had been subpoenaed by the legislative committee, was referenced in several previously subpoenaed documents released by the committee from others.
The United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, in Manhattan, issued a subpoena to PA Chairman David Samson on March 7, but then rescinded it on March 10, because of overlap with the Fishman investigation based in New Jersey.
As part of the criminal investigation, Drewniak testified on April 4 in Newark before the grand jury investigating the scandal. His lawyer, Anthony Iacullo, said he was not a target of the investigation. ABC News reported that this was the first confirmation of a convened grand jury, which can meet for up to the next 18 months (with further extensions possible), for interviewing witnesses. It has the power to indict, subpoena, and interview witnesses without their attorneys being present. The New York Times reported that it was the same grand jury that had reviewed subpoenaed documents.
On April 7, it was reported that David Wildstein met with federal prosecutors in Newark for several days during the week of March 31 and Charlie McKenna met with investigators in mid-January in Fishman's office.
U.S. Senate inquiry
The United States Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation had opened its own inquiry into the closure. Committee chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-West Virginia) had written Samson and Vice Chairman Scott Rechler in December 2013 to demand answers about how the Port Authority handled the closure and its aftermath. According to his letter, Rockefeller, who has long been critical about shortcomings in the PA's operations, was concerned about what seemed to be evidence of "political appointees abusing their power to hamper interstate commerce and safety without public notice." It also said that based on a review of recent testimony before the New Jersey Assembly Transportation Committee, it appeared that there was no traffic study underway. Rockefeller also asked the United States Department of Transportation to conduct its own review of the incident.
The PA's written response to Rockefeller's questions, signed by board secretary Karen Eastman, restated and summarized the December 9, 2013, testimony by Foye and two other PA managers before the Assembly Transportation Committee. It said that the closures had been ordered by Wildstein on September 6 despite various PA engineers expressing their concerns, particularly about more traffic congestion on local streets and no advance notice to Fort Lee officials. Wildstein, the letter said, had ordered bridge officials not to notify Foye of the closures. It also revealed that the PA's board had not approved Baroni's earlier presentation on November 25 before that committee that the closures were part of a traffic study. It showed that PA's procedures for planning and internal notifications for any traffic study were not followed. However, the letter did not reveal any reason why the closures were ordered. It characterized the incident as "aberrational". Rockefeller declared that based on the PA's response, there was "zero evidence" that a "legitimate" traffic study had been planned. He also said that the letter revealed the PA had not followed its own procedures for lane closures.
Office of the Governor investigation
In a report (commissioned by the Governor's Office) released online and presented at a press conference on March 27, 2014, a team of lawyers led by Randy Mastro of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher found that Christie had no advance knowledge of the bridge "lane realignment." The report concluded that Christie did not know why it happened, and was not involved in the decision to close the toll lanes. The report blamed Bridget Kelly and David Wildstein for orchestrating the toll lane closures. The report revealed that Wildstein said that he informed Christie of the ongoing lane closures during a September 11 memorial event, but asserted that Christie did not recall that exchange. It noted that according to Christie's spokesman Michael Drewniak, Wildstein appeared "anxious" during a dinner with him on December 4, 2013, and that Wildstein “had mentioned the Fort Lee traffic study to the Governor" during the lane closures. According to the report, Drewniak recounted that Wildstein told him during the dinner that the plan to shut the lanes and attribute it to a "traffic study" were Wildstein's idea, and that Kelly and Bill Stepien had "some knowledge." The report said that Stepien and Bill Baroni had advance knowledge of the lane closures, but not the ulterior motives. In a pre-taped interview aired on ABC's World News Tonight, Christie reiterated that he was shocked by the actions of his former aides since he had no prior knowledge of the planned lane closures, stating that: "Sometimes, people do inexplicably stupid things." Newspaper editorials noted that one of the lawyers on the investigation team was a close friend of Christie.
While these actions were seen as political retribution against Mayor Sokolich, the report did not identify the specific motives, including whether it was because Sokolich did not endorse Christie for re-election. However, it noted the day before her infamous "Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee" message, Kelly asked and confirmed that Sokolich would not endorse Christie. According to correspondence, she was also "irate" and "on fire" when a Christie aide met with Sokolich several days later.
The report relied on interviews, without releasing any transcripts or identifying who was interviewed, with more than 70 officials (including Christie and others from his administration, but nobody who had been at the PA in September 2013), who were not under oath, and more than 250,000 documents, many of them e-mails and text messages. It has been estimated that the tax-payer funded report cost more than $1,000,000 and was produced after a 10-week investigation. A separate section of the report rejected allegations by Hoboken's Mayor Dawn Zimmer that Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno and Richard Constable, director of the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, had linked release of Hurricane Sandy relief funds to approval of a project represented by David Samson's law firm.
Critics attacked the report as a whitewash, which they claimed read more like a legal defense than an objective investigation. Critics noted investigators could not interview any of the most important figures in the scandal and Mastro's conflict of interest since his firm was politically tied to Christie based on past work, and advocated Christie reimbursing taxpayers for the probe. Assemblyman Wisniewski and Senator Weinberg, co-chairs of the legislature investigative committee, criticized the report as incomplete and potentially biased since it was prepared by lawyers hired by the Christie administration and reached its conclusions, while not interviewing key figures in the scandal. Baroni, Kelly, Samson, Stepien, and Wildstein were not interviewed based on their refusals.
In advance of a subpoena that would have been issued by the legislative committee, the list of 75 interviewees was provided on April 11, and on April 14, the interview notes were turned over to the legislative committee and U.S. Attorney's office, and released online. Gibson Dunn lawyers confirmed that that there were no recordings or verbatim transcripts of the interviews, prompting Wisniewski to characterize the conclusions from these interviews as "hearsay". There were nearly 370 instances where the interviewees could not recall details about events they were asked to address.
The interview notes contained information that was downplayed or left out of the originally released report. Some of the interview notes showed how the Governor’s Office coordinated with Christie’s election campaign in order to penalize mayors, who did not endorse Christie in his re-election. Notes from the interview with Christine Renna, who worked for Kelly, indicated that she believed that Stepien kept track of mayors, who were out of favor with the intergovernmental affairs group (IGA), headed by Bridget Kelly. Interview notes for other IGA employees showed that they were instructed not to return phone call or arrange meetings for mayors, who had not endorsed Christie in his re-election campaign. Interview notes for Kevin O'Dowd, Christie's Chief of Staff, mentioned that when Christie gathered his top staff, David Samson, and his new campaign chairman at the governor’s mansion on January 8, there was a discussion over whether Kelly and Stepien should hire attorneys, and someone suggested the names of two law firms, which the two eventually hired. While Christie's interview notes about this same meeting indicated that it was agreed that it was best that he and his staff not talk to either of them, Christie did not mention anything about discussions about whether either of them should retain legal counsel. The O'Dowd notes indicated that Samson, who was the Port Authority chairman, was tasked with a significant role in the Christie administration for talking to various Cabinet members to determine their second-term plans if the governor was re-elected in 2013.
The report was also criticized for "sexism" for its treatment of Christie aide Bridget Kelly. The attorney representing Kelly said in a statement that the report contained “venomous, gratuitous, and inappropriate sexist remarks”. Asserting that the only credible investigation into the lane closings was being conducted by the U.S. Attorney's Office, he said that if Kelly was to receive safeguards, she would cooperate to provide “truthful and complete answers to any questions” to law enforcement.
A Monmouth University Polling Institute poll, released on April 2, found that 30% of New Jersey residents said it was a fair and unbiased investigation, while 52% said it was done to help Christie’s reputation. Only 11% agreed with the report's conclusion that only two staff members were responsible for the closures, with 77% saying that others were involved. It found that 32% felt that Christie had been completely honest about what he knows of the scandal, and 61% saying that he did not come clean. The poll also found that despite Christie's exoneration in the report, only 38% believed he was not involved in the decision to close the lanes. It said that 47% believed that he was involved. This was 3 points less than was reported in a similar February poll prior to the report, but remained significantly higher than the 34% who felt he was involved, shortly after the scandal broke in January. In April 2014, a Quinnipiac University poll found that 56% of New Jersey registered voters viewed it as a "whitewash", while 36% said it was a "legitimate investigation". It said that 64% said Christie did not order the lane closures, but 51% said they believed he was aware of what his aides were doing.
Legal representation for key people and organizations
|Client||Legal Representatives||Notes and Key Credentials|
|Port Authority (PA)|
|Bill Baroni||Michael B. Himmel, a partner at the New York and Roseland, New Jersey offices of Lowenstein Sandler||Himmel was the attorney for Solomon Dwek, who also worked as an informant in Operation Bid Rig III that brought down several New Jersey politicians|
|David Samson||Michael Chertoff, "senior of counsel" at the Washington, D.C. law firm Covington & Burling;
Angelo J. Genova, senior partner, chairman, and co-founder of the Newark law firm Genova Burns Giantomasi Webster
|Chertoff is a former U.S. Attorney of New Jersey (like Christie) and former Secretary of Homeland Security; Chertoff's consulting firm, The Chertoff Group, received a no-bid contract from the PA to review its security and provided recommendations;
Genova had served on the PA's Board of Commissioners
|David Wildstein||Alan L. Zegas, a criminal defense attorney, at Chatham, New Jersey-based Law Offices of Alan L. Zegas|
|Office of the Governor|
|Christie's Office of the Governor (and six individual staff members)||Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, including partner Randy M. Mastro, based in the firm's New York office||Hired in January 2014, after disclosure of subpoenaed documents from the New Jersey Assembly Transportation Committee, in order to aid in an investigation for the governor's office and respond to "appropriate" official inquiries|
|Bridget Anne Kelly||Michael Critchley, Sr., founder of the Roseland, New Jersey-based firm Critchley, Kinum & Vazquez||Replaced Walter F. Timpone, who cited a conflict of interest since he was serving as Christie's appointed vice-chairman of the Election Law Enforcement Commission|
|Bill Stepien||Kevin Marino, a principal and founder of Chatham, New Jersey-based Marino, Tortorella & Boyle|
|Other Persons or Organizations|
|Christie's 2013 re-election campaign||Patton Boggs, including partner Mark D. Sheridan, in Newark until that office closes and moves to Florham Park, New Jersey||Official name for re-election campaign was Chris Christie for Governor Inc.|
|New Jersey Republican State Committee||Patton Boggs, including partner Mark D. Sheridan||Patton Boggs also serves as general counsel for the Republican State Committee|
|Mark Sokolich||Timothy M. Donohue, a criminal defense attorney and partner at Arleo, Donohue & Biancamano, LLC, in West Orange, New Jersey||Donohue, to be paid by Fort Lee, has represented a number of public officials in state and federal jury trials. Mayor Sokolich acquiesced to the request by the borough attorney and council for this "prudent" arrangement as a contingency.|
- David Wildstein
On January 24, the PA told Wildstein that they will not pay his legal bills since they contended the bills would not be covered according to its bylaws when there was fraud, malice, misconduct, or intentional wrongdoing. In a January 31 letter, his attorney, Alan Zegas, asked the PA to reconsider paying Wildstein's legal bills since they had provided no specific reasons or evidence in regards to their contention. He also questioned their decision since the PA was still reviewing whether to pay the legal bills of Bill Baroni, who had made statements during his November 25 hearing with the Assembly Transportation Committee that were contradicted by sworn testimony by Patrick Foye and other PA officials at a December 9 hearing.
- Randy Mastro
On January 16, the Governor's office announced the hiring of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher to provide assistance with their internal review and cooperate with the U.S. Attorney's investigation. Michael Drewniak, Christie's spokesman, said that the law firm: "will bring an outside, third-party perspective to the situation." The final released agreement, signed on January 30, also said that the law firm would assist "with document retention and production in connection with the United States Attorney inquiry, and other appropriate inquires and requests for information"; and review its operations and information flow. The lead attorney was Randy Mastro, a long time associate of Rudolph Giuliani, having also served under him as Deputy Mayor of New York City and Assistant United States Attorney.
Subsequently, six staff members in the Governor's office were represented by Mastro. Paul Butler, a former prosecutor and criminal law scholar, and others have suggested there can be a potential conflict of interest when an attorney acts both as the investigator and as the representative of some of the subjects of the investigation (who may have acted improperly).
Port Authority lawyers lodged a complaint with the law firm that there would be a potential separate conflict since Mastro and his firm, while representing the governor's office for Bridgegate, are also representing the PA in ongoing disputes over the 2011 toll increases, which has been investigated by Wisniewski, who has subpoenaed their financial records in the past and as part of a separate investigation by the special committee also looking into Bridgegate. A firm's spokesperson denied that there would be any conflicts. A retention letter, signed by New Jersey Assistant Attorney General Robert T. Lougy, said that the governor's office and law firm did not consider there to be any conflicts. On February 19, Mastro (but not his firm) withdrew from representation of the PA in a federal lawsuit regarding toll hikes, but potential conflicts reportedly remain.
- Other taxpayer-funded attorneys
On April 14, 2014, the New Jersey Attorney General's office announced that it had retained five law firms at $340 per hour to represent at least five current and/or former administration officials. Marino, Tortorella, & Bayle billing for Bill Stepien is covered for his time as deputy chief of staff, but not while Christie's campaign manager. The law firms known to be representing Christina Genovese Renna (who reported to Bridget Kelly as director of intergovernmental affairs and who resigned in February 2014), Michael Drewniak (who changed representation from Gibson Dunn to Iacullo Martino), and Evan Ridley (a Christie aide) are also covered. The name of any client for Robert G. Stahl's firm in Westfield is not known.
Other allegations concerning David Samson
As investigations found out more about Port Authority Chairman Samson's involvement in the Bridgegate scandal, there were discoveries of alleged violations of ethics and conflicts of interest from his conduct where Samson, his law firm, and their clients profited from dealings with the PA and projects with New Jersey government financing or tax incentives, and that Christie benefited politically and his allies benefited financially during Samson's term as chairman. Patrick Foye, PA executive director, asserted that Samson lacked the moral authority to run the agency.
Calls for Samson's resignation and/or removal came from New Jersey officials and media sources, including The Star-Ledger, The Daily News (New York), The Record, and The New York Times. On March 4, the freeholders in Bergen County, where Fort Lee is located, called for the resignation of Samson and the other five New Jersey appointed commissioners, with the commissioners faulted for failure to exercise proper oversight.
In February 2014, Christie stood firmly behind his support of Samson as PA chairman.
On March 28, Christie announced that Samson offered his resignation, effective immediately, from the PA. They both agreed with the recommended PA reforms in the March 26 report commissioned by the governor's office for an investigation of Bridgegate allegations. The report did not mention any involvement by Samson, who refused to be interviewed, in any Bridgegate events or any of the other allegations during his role as PA chairman. Christie thanked Samson for his service at the PA. Samson released a statement: "I am confident that the Governor will put new leadership in place to address the many challenges ahead."
In most cases of government caused traffic delays, lawsuits would not be possible. Under government immunity, governments are usually immune to lawsuits for their actions done in good faith. Secondly, under tort law, generally one can sue for personal injury or property damage, but not for economic loss, as many parties only tangentially related to a case could legitimately claim such losses. Those restrictions usually only apply to negligence. In both situations, restrictions do not apply if the plaintiff could show that the defendants acted in bad faith. New Jersey is also more open to economic loss claims than other states.
In January 2014, a federal lawsuit, seeking certification as a class action, was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, on behalf of six Bergen County residents, claiming that they arrived late for work and lost pay, or suffered other adverse effects, and several businesses, who lost revenue, due to traffic jams caused by the lane closures. The lawsuit alleges that the lane closures were the result of a civil conspiracy and "willful, wanton, arbitrary, and egregious official misconduct". Christie, Kelly, Wildstein, Baroni, Stepien, the Port Authority, and State of New Jersey are named as defendants.
On January 13, six Bergen County taxicab companies filed a class action lawsuit in New Jersey Superior Court in Hackensack, claiming their cab employees lost money based on lost time and extra gas consumption, and suffered emotional harm due to the deliberately caused traffic jams. The lawsuit named Kelly, Drewniak, Wildstein, Baroni, and Christie's gubernatorial campaign, along with Stepien.
Christie's public statements, and those made by the governor's office on his behalf, on the toll lane closures have been made as more information about the scandal became public.
- December 2, 2013
At a press conference, Christie said that Democrats were just playing politics by holding hearings into lane closures. "Just because [Rep.] John Wisniewski is obsessed with this, and [Sen.] Loretta Weinberg, it just shows that they really have nothing to do," Christie said. Christie later credited the e-mail documents subpoenaed by the hearings as the first information he had that his staff was involved. When asked about the closures, Christie dismissively joked "I worked the cones, actually. Unbeknownst to everybody I was actually the guy out there, in overalls and a hat. You cannot be serious with that question."
Christie defended Baroni's claim of a traffic study, saying, "I do believe, and I told Chairman Samson this, that we should look at this policy because I don't know why one town gets three lanes. One lane? Maybe. Three lanes, for one town, I don't quite get it."
- Purported call to Governor Cuomo of New York
On December 12, 2013, The Wall Street Journal reported that Christie was said to have called New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to complain about Patrick Foye, the executive director of the Port Authority and a Cuomo appointee, in an apparent attempt to shut down Foye's investigation of the lane closures. On December 13, 2013, Christie denied such a call, saying, "The story is categorically wrong. I did not have that conversation with Governor Cuomo in any way, shape or form." In his January 9, 2014 press conference, he also denied any such conversation. Heather Haddon of The Wall Street Journal still stood by the report on February 19.
- December 13
At a press conference, Christie announced the immediate resignations of Baroni and Wildstein. Nevertheless, Christie said the closure was "absolutely, unequivocally not" political retribution.
Christie added: "I've made it very clear to everybody on my senior staff that if anyone had any knowledge about this, they needed to come forward to me and tell me about it. And they've all assured me that they don't." Christie reported: "The chief of staff and chief counsel assured me they feel comfortable that we have all the information we need to have."
Christie then suggested that reviewing the policy for three toll lanes for Fort Lee with the related lane closures was a matter of fairness when he said, "I didn't know Fort Lee got three dedicated lanes until all this stuff happened, and I think we should review that entire policy because I don't know why Fort Lee needs three dedicated lanes to tell you the truth." However, members of the New Jersey Assembly Transportation Committee said at their November 25, 2013, hearing that the Fort Lee entrance has been used by an even greater number of commuters from the surrounding Bergen County towns. PA officials, including Patrick Foye, confirmed that assessment in their sworn testimony at the December 9, 2013 committee hearing.
- January 9, 2014
Christie apologized at a nearly two-hour press conference for the toll lane closures and said that he was "embarrassed and humiliated" by the behavior of his staff. Christie claimed he first learned of his staff's involvement via news media reports on January 8. The governor announced that he had fired Bridget Kelly, calling her "deceitful", claiming her lack of disclosure about her actions and e-mails caused him to mislead the public. Christie admonished his two-time campaign manager Bill Stepien and said he had asked Stepien to withdraw his name from the Republican State Party Chairman race, and to cease his consulting role for the Republican Governors Association. Christie promised that he and his staff would cooperate with any government investigations, including those by the New Jersey Legislature. When asked what he would do if subpoenaed to testify on the matter, Christie said, "I'm not going to speculate on that".
Christie said “I have had no contact with David Wildstein in a long time, a long time, well before the election.” Christie was re-elected Governor on November 5, 2013. During the third day of the closures, Christie, Wildstein, Samson and Baroni are photographed together on September 11, 2013 at the site of the World Trade Center during a commemoration of the 12th anniversary of the terrorist attacks.
In the press conference, Christie described his earlier investigations into whether his staff were involved, saying "I brought my senior staff together I think about four weeks ago tomorrow. And I put to all of them one simple challenge: If there is any information that you know about the decision to close these lanes in Fort Lee, you have one hour to tell either my chief of staff, Kevin O'Dowd, or my chief counsel, Charlie McKenna."
- January 31
The governor's office issued a statement that denied the allegations about Christie that were contained in a January 31 letter, which was made public, from Alan Zegas, Wildstein's attorney, to the PA. The letter questioned the accuracy of various statements made by Christie about his client, without providing any specific references, and claimed that there is evidence of Christie being aware of the toll lane closures at the time that they were closed. The governor's office said that Christie stood by his position that he: "first learned lanes were closed when it was reported by the press". Christie previously said in his December 13 press conference that this was well after the toll lanes for local traffic were reopened.
- February 3
During his monthly talk radio appearance, Christie said he was cooperating with subpoenas from the state legislative committee and the U.S. Attorney to his governor's office, which began turning over documents to the legislative committee earlier in the day and would continue to do so as the requested items were located.
Reactions and impact
In January 2014, there was a wide range of opinion about the long term impact of this scandal on a potential Christie 2016 presidential bid. By early February, national polling showed an impact, with a substantial erosion in his political standing and 2016 presidential campaign prospects, as more information became publicly available about the scandal based on news media reports and state legislative investigations, and as several aides, appointees, and advisers for Christie were fired or forced to resign for their involvement in the scandal.
Sokolich, a perceived target of the closures, said on January 8 that he was appalled: "How low can you go? This is insane. It's the worst example of a petty political vendetta...I'm embarrassed. And congratulations, you've just made New Jersey the brunt of every political joke for the next 25 years—again."
Barbara Buono stated her belief that the incident may shed light on why it was so hard for Democrats to run against Christie. The state has gone Democratic in every presidential election since 1992, and Democrats have controlled both houses of the state legislature for more than a decade. However, she claimed that the culture of intimidation and retribution engendered by Christie and his staff made people unwilling to donate to a competing campaign at a level where their name would be made public.
The New Jersey Working Families Alliance, a grassroots group, said that it had collected over 20,000 signatures on a petition calling for Christie to resign, including 6,500 from New Jersey residents. The College Democrats of America responded to the scandal by releasing a statement from one of its New Jersey officers concluding "Governor Christie’s leadership is why this happened, and this shows he is not fit to hold office today in New Jersey, or nationally in 2016."
On a January 16 broadcast of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Fallon and Christie hero Bruce Springsteen, both dressed as Springsteen from the 1980s, performed a parody of "Born to Run", reworded to describe the scandal. The official YouTube clip received over 4 million hits.
Syndicated columnist Ruben Navarette expressed his opinion that "left-leaning elements of the media" are attempting to exploit the scandal to "clear the way for likely Democratic presidential nominee - Hillary Clinton."
The Democratic National Committee released a video in December 2013 that raised questions if “Christie's political payback” was behind the toll lane closures. It released a satirical video, timed to coincide with the January Assembly hearing, about what questions still needed to be answered. At the beginning of February, it released an online video ad with a Super Bowl 48-inspired, football game theme. It was followed soon after by a video that parodied Facebook's popular "Look Back" videos.
On February 4, the Port Authority confirmed the elimination of David Wildstein's custom-made job title that never had a job description, Director of Interstate Capital Projects.
Rudy Giuliani, whose support of Christie goes back to 2002 when Christie became U.S. Attorney for New Jersey and his successful run for New Jersey governor in 2009, has been one of Christie's strongest defenders in this scandal. However, Giuliani has also said: "If he’s not telling the truth, he’s ruined." While Giuliani has claimed that he is not acting as a surrogate on behalf of Christie, many of the media inquires for interviews with Giuliani have gone to the governor's office and are forwarded to Giuliani by Maria Comella, Christie's Communications Director. Giuliani has also updated Commella, who was served with a subpoena by the NJ legislative committee, on statements he has made on Christie’s behalf, which is usually after an interview.
Former Republican New Jersey Governor Thomas Kean, Jr. believed Christie when he told the press on January 9 that he had no idea that any of his aides were involved in the lane closures until the subpoenaed communications were revealed on January 8. Kean said that there were still unanswered questions about: "How that atmosphere was allowed to exist and how [now-fired staffer Bridget Kelly] could give an order to the Port Authority and have it accepted — and whether or not there are more than two or three people involved." In a subsequent April 2014 interview, he elaborated: "there’s another question, about whether he created an atmosphere in which some of those people thought they were doing his will because they were getting back at people." He also mentioned that he had reconsidered his support of Christie as a potential presidential candidate, and that if Christie was not telling the truth, "then he’s finished. As governor, too." Kean had been a lifelong political mentor and supporter of Christie and his political ambitions, going back to 1976, and was the first major political figure to support Christie in his successful run for governor in 2009.
A Rasmussen poll, published January 10, showed that 56% believe Christie should resign "if it is proven that he approved of retaliation against an elected official who refused to support him"; only 29% disagreed. A majority reported they believed it was at least somewhat likely that Christie was aware, at the time, that the September toll lane closures were retaliation for the mayor of Fort Lee's refusal to support the governor's re-election.
A Quinnipiac poll, published January 21, showed that the Fort Lee scandal had hurt Christie's national standings, including his potential run for the Republican nomination for the 2016 presidential election. The poll showed him trailing former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton 46% to 38%, which is a downturn from two previous polls that showed Christie and Clinton about even, after Christie had gained considerably in the polls against her since March 2013. The December 2013 poll had shown Christie at 42% with Clinton, who is the leading potential Democrat candidate, at 41%. Nationally, peoples' view of his presidential capabilities had gone down with 35% agreeing and 36% disagreeing that he would make a good president. This was down from 49% agreeing to 31% disagreeing in a November poll. For the people, who had heard of the Bridgegate scandal, 50% said this scandal would hurt Christie's presidential hopes, and made 34% of all those polled less likely to vote for Christie. His favorability rating declined to only 33% viewing him generally as favorable with 30% unfavorable. This is down from his highest rating of 47% favorable to 23% unfavorable in December 2013. The poll did show that Christie still polled the best against Clinton among the current leading potential Republican candidates, even though he had gone from the leading potential Republican candidate in December to a statistical tie with three others.
A Rutgers-Eagleton poll, published January 24, showed that the Fort Lee scandal had hurt his standings among New Jersey residents. Christie’s favorability rating, as governor, was shown to be 46%, down 22 points from just before his landslide re-election victory in November 2013, with 43% having an unfavorable view. While the majority of residents still approve his overall performance as governor, his 53% job approval was down 15 points from November. A majority, 56%, said that it was “very unlikely” or "somewhat unlikely" that Christie’s top aides acted without his knowledge in the Fort Lee scandal. Only 20% said they fully believed Christie’s explanation about this topic, while 42% did not believe his version at all and 33% only partially believed him.
A Monmouth University/Asbury Park Press poll, published February 24, showed Christie's job approval ratings in New Jersey at 50%, which was down 9% since January and 20% from 12 months prior. Other results showed 61% believed the governor was not completely honest about what he knew about the toll lane closures, and 50% (up from 34% in January) thought Christie was personally involved in the decision to close the toll lanes. A similar poll, released on April 2, showed his approval ratings to be nominally, but not significantly better than the February poll, remaining 14 points lower than December, before the Bridgegate scandal broke. It said that 62% said that Bridgegate and Hoboken's Sandy relief aid issues hurt his presidential prospects for 2016, up from 51% in January.
Speculation as to motives
Widely held speculation is the toll lane closures, with the associated traffic jams in his town, was political retribution against Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich, a Democrat, for not supporting Christie, a Republican, in the 2013 New Jersey gubernatorial election. Sokolich had claimed he was asked for an endorsement once, during Spring 2013, months before the August order for traffic problems from Christie's Deputy Chief of Staff. Though the two men are from different parties and an endorsement would normally not be expected, Governor Christie ran on a platform of bipartisanship and had secured the endorsement of many other Democratic officials.
In an interview on February 6, 2014 with The Record, Sokolich elaborated that the Christie administration courted his endorsement over a period of time going back to around 2010 when Christie invited Sokolich and a handful of other mayors, including Hoboken’s Dawn Zimmer, to have lunch at the governor’s mansion in Princeton. Governor Christie was shown in a picture talking with local mayors in a line-up, including Sokolich, after a news conference in Teaneck on December 8, 2011. In 2012, Sokolich and his cousins were given a personal tour of the 9/11 Memorial Plaza by Wildstein, one of Christie's senior appointees at the Port Authority, who repeatedly told Sokolich, “I’ve been told to be nice to you.” Matt Mowers, regional political director for Christie's re-election campaign - who had previously worked in the governor’s intergovernmental affairs office, which was the chief liaison to towns - met with Sokolich regularly in 2013 and told him about other Democrats who endorsed Christie for governor. On at least three occasions, Sokolich said that Mowers brought up the subject of Sokolich’s possible endorsement. While Sokolich never said he would not endorse Christie, he eventually supported Barbara Buono, Christie's Democratic opponent for governor in the 2013 election. Christie said at his January 9 press conference that Sokolich was “never on my radar screen” and that he would not "have been able to pick him [Sokolich] out of a lineup."
E-mails indicated that Wildstein and Baroni were aware the closures would harm Sokolich. In an e-mail from Wildstein responding to Bill Stepien, Wildstein wrote "It will be a tough November for this little Serbian", derogatorily referring to Sokolich, who is Croatian-American. Baroni referred to "Serbia" in text messages in another apparent reference to mayor Sokolich.
Another possible motive was whether the closures were intended to affect Sokolich's promotion of Hudson Lights, a "billion-dollar redevelopment" project that was underway at the Fort Lee bridge access point. It has been noted that "the Hudson Lights project is a billion-dollar project because it offers unparalleled access to the George Washington Bridge. But take away that access and it's no longer a billion-dollar project." In a September 12, 2013, e-mail to Bill Baroni, during the time when the closure was still on-going, Mayor Sokolich raised concerns about the redevelopment project, asking "What do I do when our billion-dollar development is put on line at the end of next year?"
On January 9, Steven Fulop, Mayor of Jersey City, alleged that he was also targeted for political reprisals by the Christie administration for declining to endorse Christie in the 2013 governor election. His claim may be supported by a September 9, 2013 e-mail by David Wildstein after Bridget Kelly asked about his response to Fort Lee Mayor Sokolich about the toll lane closures. Wildstein responded: "Radio silence. His name comes right after Mayor Fulop."
- Controversies and scandals in the Governorship of Chris Christie
- List of scandals with "-gate" suffix
- Politics of New Jersey
- Bruinius, Harry (January 31, 2013). "Bridge-gate: Key figure says Chris Christie knew about lane closures (+video)". Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved February 2, 2014.
- "Christie campaign seeks funds to cover Bridgegate legal costs". Daily News (New York). January 26, 2014. Retrieved February 2, 2014.
- Google Inc. "Satellite map of the Fort Lee entrance at the GW Bridge upper-level toll plaza". Google Maps (Map). Cartography by Google, Inc. https://maps.google.com/maps?saddr=40.853297,-73.967114&daddr=40.854015,-73.966058&hl=en&ll=40.85378,-73.96554&spn=0.006882,0.016512&sll=40.853829,-73.964955&sspn=0.003441,0.008256&geocode=FTFfbwId9lmX-w%3BFf9hbwIdFl6X-w&t=h&mra=ls&z=17. Retrieved February 4, 2014.
- "For Christie, perhaps a bridge too far". The Washington Post. January 9, 2014. Includes composite aerial images with illustrated versions of GW Bridge traffic flow around the upper-level toll plaza with one and three dedicated local toll lanes.
- "The backstory of Christie's 'Bridgegate' scandal". USA Today. January 10, 2014. Retrieved February 2, 2014.
- "PA chief Patrick Foye's email on George Washington Bridge closures". Newsday. Retrieved January 13, 2014.
- Alcindor, Yamiche (January 10, 2014). "Fort Lee traffic jam caused human debacle". USA Today. Retrieved February 17, 2014.
- Zernike, Kate (January 8, 2014). "Christie Faces Scandal on Traffic Jam Aides Ordered". The New York Times. Retrieved January 9, 2014.
- Strunsky, Steve (January 13, 2014). "New subpoenas could go out today in GWB lane closure scandal probe". The Star-Ledger (Newark, NJ).
- Dopp, Terrence; Voreacos, David & Jones, Tim (January 16, 2014). "Christie bridge jam inquiry to probe $1 billion projects". Bloomberg.
- Walshe, Shushannah & Margolin, Josh (February 3, 2014). "Chris Christie Says He ‘Unequivocally’ Had No Knowledge of Lane Closure". ABC news. Retrieved March 21, 2014.
- Dann, Carrie. "Internal Probe: Christie's Account of Bridgegate 'Rings True'". NBC News. March 27, 2014
- "UPDATE 6-NJ governor's internal investigation clears him in 'Bridgegate'". Reuters. March 27, 2014. Retrieved March 27, 2014.
- Cavaliere, Victoria (April 9, 2014). "New Jersey voters see Christie's internal bridge review as 'whitewash': poll". Reuters. Retrieved April 9, 2014.
- "Monmouth Poll: Christie job approval at 51%". PolitickerNJ. April 2, 2014.
- "On Bridgegate, a million-dollar whitewash: Editorial". The Star-Ledger. March 27, 2014. Retrieved March 28, 2014.
- "A Whitewash for Gov. Christie". Editorial. The New York Times. March 27, 2014. Retrieved March 28, 2014.
- Zernike, Kate (March 28, 2014). "Port Authority Official Is Out Amid Scandal Over Shut Lanes". The New York Times. Retrieved March 29, 2014.
- Associated Press (March 28, 2014). "NJ Gov. Christie on major push to shed scandal". Boston Herald
- Strunsky, Steve (March 11, 2014). "Chris Christie bridge scandal: documents show Port Authority chairman blasting executive director". The Star-Ledger (Newark, NJ).
- Baxter, Christopher (March 11, 2014). "Updated: Timeline of Port Authority's George Washington Bridge controversy". The Star-Ledger (Newark, NJ). Retrieved January 29, 2014.
- Mann, Ted (January 14, 2014). "Christie, official who arranged bridge closures were together during fiasco". The Wall Street Journal.
- Staff. "Timeline of events around GWB lane-closure controversy". The Record (Bergen County) (Woodland Park, NJ). Retrieved January 14, 2014.
- "Full transcript: NJ Gov. Chris Christie's Jan. 9 news conference on George Washington Bridge scandal". The Washington Post. January 9, 2014. Retrieved January 10, 2014.
- Gold, Matea & Costa, Robert (January 9, 2014). "Firing of Stepien deprives Christie of a key counselor". The Washington Post. Retrieved February 16, 2014.
- Rizzo, Salvador (March 28, 2014). "Christie announces that David Samson resigned as Port Authority chairman". The Star-Ledger. Retrieved March 28, 2014.
- Miller, Jake (February 12, 2014). "Thanks to scandal, Clinton would crush Christie in 2016, poll says". CBS News. Retrieved February 17, 2014.(Poll conducted February 4–9, 2014)
- Johnson, Brent (February 5, 2014). "Chris Christie's 2016 prospects drop amid allegations, new poll shows". The Star-Ledger. Retrieved February 17, 2014.(Poll conducted January 31 to February 2, 2014)
- Evans, Dave (January 9, 2014). "Gov. Christie faces political fallout from BridgeGate scandal". ABC. Archived from the original on February 27, 2014. Retrieved April 10, 2014.
- Errol, Louis (December 17, 2013). "Bridge scandal tarnishes Chris Christie's image". CNN. Retrieved February 19, 2014.
- Chang, Ti-Hua (December 19, 2013). "George Washington Bridge: maintaining world's busiest span". New York: WNYW-TV. Retrieved January 9, 2014.
- Woodruff, Bob; Zak, Lana & Wash, Stephanie (November 20, 2012). "GW Bridge Painters: Dangerous Job on Top of the World's Busiest Bridge". ABC News. Retrieved January 9, 2014.
- "George Washington Bridge". Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Retrieved September 13, 2013.
- "George Washington Bridge: Facts & Info". Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Retrieved January 27, 2014.
- Google Inc. "Twelve Operating Toll Booths at Main Toll Plaza on Upper Level of GW Bridge". Google Maps (Map). Cartography by Google, Inc. https://maps.google.com/maps?q=40.854238,-73.965976&hl=en&ll=40.854234,-73.96598&spn=0.00172,0.004128&sll=40.8546,-73.969831&sspn=0.00172,0.004128&t=h&z=19. Retrieved January 12, 2014.
- Google Inc. "Ten Operating Toll Booths on Lower Level of GW Bridge". Google Maps (Map). Cartography by Google, Inc. https://maps.google.com/maps?q=40.854601,-73.969833&hl=en&ll=40.8546,-73.969831&spn=0.00172,0.004128&sll=40.07304,-74.724323&sspn=7.128143,16.907959&t=h&z=19. Retrieved January 12, 2014.
- Google Inc. "Seven Operating Toll Booths at Palisades Interstate Parkway Toll Plaza to Upper Level of GW Bridge". Google Maps (Map). Cartography by Google, Inc. https://maps.google.com/maps?q=40.856519,-73.96184&hl=en&ll=40.856255,-73.961291&spn=0.006881,0.016512&sll=40.854234,-73.96598&sspn=0.00172,0.004128&t=h&z=17. Retrieved January 12, 2014.
- (PDF) Committee Meeting of Assembly Transportation, Public Works and Independent Authorities Committee (transcript) (Report). New Jersey State Library. December 9, 2013. https://dspace.njstatelib.org/xmlui/bitstream/handle/10929/30031/b8512013a.pdf. Retrieved January 12, 2014.
- Samuel, Peter (December 17, 2013). "Poorly executed toll lane reallocation trial at Geo Washington Bridge escalates: two top execs of PANYNJ are out in political furore". TollRoadsNews. Retrieved January 10, 2014.
- "The Port Authority Loses Its Way". The New York Times. February 17, 2014. Retrieved March 29, 2014.
- "Christie probe report urges Port Authority revamp". The Wall Street Journal. March 27, 2014. Retrieved March 29, 2014.
- "Ex-blogger is Governor Christie's eyes, ears inside the Port Authority". The Record (Woodland Park, New Jersey). March 4, 2012. Retrieved April 7, 2014.
- Kastenbaum, Steve & Frates, Chris (January 16, 2014). "Port Authority job created for Christie ally, source says". CNN.
- "Officials On George Washington Bridge Closures: There Was No Traffic Study". NewYork: WCBS-TV. December 9, 2013. Retrieved January 25, 2014.
- Mann, Ted (January 17, 2014). "Bridge Players: A scandal over a traffic jam involves a wide cast of player". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved January 23, 2014. Article includes pictures of many of the key figures.
- Isherwood, Darryl (March 5, 2014). "Baroni lands new job with Mercer County law firm". NJ.com. Retrieved March 6, 2014.
- Portnoy, Jenna (December 19, 2013). "Chris Christie names new state comptroller, chief counsel". The Star-Ledger (Newark, NJ). Retrieved January 29, 2014.
- Goldman, Jeff (March 18, 2014). "Bill Stepien scores job at GOP consulting firm, report says". The Star-Ledger. Retrieved March 18, 2014.
- Isherwood, Darryl (January 29, 2014). "Bridgegate attorney's firm has past ties to state Democrats, state records show". The Star-Ledger (Newark, NJ). Retrieved January 30, 2014.
- Foster, David (January 10, 2014). "Wisniewski: Meeting occurred between Port Authority Chairman and Gov. Christie 1 week before Fort Lee lane closures". The Trentonian. Retrieved January 11, 2014.
- Rokus, Brian (January 9, 2014). "Who is David Wildstein?". CNN. Retrieved January 11, 2014.
- Eric, Lach (January 8, 2014). "Meet the Christie Aide Behind the Instantly Infamous 'Traffic Problems' Email". Talking Points Memo. Retrieved January 8, 2014.
- Blake, Aaron (January 8, 2014). "E-mails Suggest Top Christie Aide Used Lane Closures for Retribution". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 8, 2014.
- Boburg, Shawn (December 9, 2013). "Democrats call for resignation of Christie appointee after Assembly hearings on GWB lane closures". The Record (Woodland Park, NJ). Retrieved January 14, 2014.
- Wright-Piersanti, Tom (January 10, 2014). "Chris Christie bridge scandal: Why is Springfield mentioned in controversial emails?". The Star-Ledger (Newark, NJ). Retrieved January 12, 2014.
- Boburg, Shawn (December 28, 2013). "Emails Show Port Authority Officials Were Warned of Hardships Caused by GWB Lane Closures". The Record (Woodland Park, NJ). Retrieved January 8, 2014.
- LoGiurato, Brett (January 9, 2013). "The Chris Christie Lane Closing Scandal Caused Slower Response Times For Emergency Vehicles". Business Insider. Retrieved January 8, 2014.
- Rose, Lisa (January 9, 2013). "Neighbors of Fort Lee woman who died after GWB closures delayed emergency response speak". Business Insider. Retrieved January 11, 2014.
- Mix, Naomi (January 10, 2014). "Daughter says GWB lane closures did not play role in her mother's death, report says". The Star-Ledger (Newark, NJ: NJ.com). Retrieved March 4, 2014.
- Terkel, Amanda & Stein, Sam (January 10, 2014). "Days of chaos in Fort Lee during Chris Christie administration traffic experiment". The Huffington Post.
- Tat, Linh (January 8, 2014). "EMS responses delayed by GWB closures in Fort Lee". The Record (Woodland Park, NJ).
- Jaffe, Alexandra (January 10, 2014). "Emails Suggest Safety Warnings About Closed Bridge Lanes Ignored". The Hill.
- Semuels, Alana (January 10, 2013). "Bridge emails show Chris Christie aides ignored public safety". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 11, 2014.
- Donohue, Pete (January 10, 2013). "New documents reveal 'Bridgegate' Port Authority appointees ignored danger warnings". Daily News (New York). Retrieved January 11, 2014.
- "Timeline: Fulop, Christie and the Port Authority". The Star-Ledger. Newark, NJ. January 8, 2014. Retrieved January 13, 2014.
- Boburg, Shawn; Koloff, Abbott & Akin, Stephanie (February 27, 2014). "New GWB files, same callous jokes". The Record (Woodland Park, NJ).
- "Wildstein's subpoenaed texting document". Scribd. January 10, 2014.
- "Wildstein's subpoenaed texting document". Scribd. January 10–17, 2014.
- Akin, Stephanie (January 13, 2014). "Tolled Bridge: Why Christie’s failure matters far west of the Hudson". National Review. Retrieved January 26, 2014.
- Akin, Stephanie (January 10, 2014). "Breaking news: Thousands of documents released in Christie GWB scandal". The Record (Woodland Park, NJ). Retrieved January 11, 2014.
- Barro, Josh (January 10, 2014). "They Actually DID Kind Of Do A Traffic Study On The George Washington Bridge: And Here Is What They Found". Business Insider. Retrieved January 26, 2014.
- "Fort Lee Mayor: Port Authority Blamed Me For The Traffic Jam". Business Insider. January 10, 2014. Retrieved January 14, 2014.
- "PA chief Patrick Foye's email on George Washington Bridge closures". Newsday. Retrieved January 11, 2014.
- Soltis, Andy (January 10, 2014). "Christie appointee ordered officials' silence on Bridgegate". New York Post. Retrieved January 11, 2014.
- Staff. "What's in the Christie scandal documents". politicalticker. CNN. Retrieved January 11, 2014.
- Rucker, Philip & Blake, Aaron (January 10, 2014). "New NJ documents show extensive coverup in Fort Lee traffic shutdown". The Washington Post.
- Cichowski, John (September 13, 2013). "Road Warrior: Closed tollbooths a commuting disaster". The Record (Woodland Park, NJ). Retrieved February 28, 2014.
- Santora, March & Zernikej, Kate (January 10, 2014). "Bridge Scandal Documents Indicate Effort to Hide Political Motive". The New York Times. Retrieved January 10, 2014.
- Isquith, Elias (January 8, 2014). "Christie bridge scandal deepens". Salon.
- Davison, Amy (January 8, 2014). "Chris Christie's Traffic Problems". The New Yorker.
- Seidman, Andrew & Hanna, Maddie (January 9, 2014). "Emails seen as revealing plan for retribution against N.J. mayor's non-support for Christie re-election". Philadelphia Inquirer.
- Kaminerjan, Ariel (January 11, 2014). "In Bridge Scandal, a Slight Heard Around the World". The New York Times.
- Foster, David (January 10, 2014). "Gov. Christie's potty-mouthed spokesman gains relevance in newly released Bridgegate docs". The Trentonian. Retrieved March 11, 2014.
- Mann, Ted (September 17, 2013). "Bridge Jam's Cause a Mystery". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved January 10, 2014.
- Mann, Ted (October 1, 2013). "Port Chief Fumed Over Bridge Jam". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved January 15, 2014.
- Wemple, Erik (January 9, 2014). "The Record nails Christie story". The Washington Post.
- Hare, Kristen (January 13, 2014). "For Bergen Record’s reporting, public records requests are ‘the go-to tool’". The Poynter Institute.
- Nyhan, Brendan (January 8, 2014). "Bridge-gate fever! Covering the Christie scandal and its repercussions in the invisible primary". Columbia Journalism Review. Retrieved January 16, 2014.
- Voreacos, David & Larson, Erik (January 10, 2014). "Christie Bridge Scandal Prosecutions Seen Built on Cover-Up". Bloomberg News. Retrieved February 16, 2014.
- "David Wildstein, player in NJ bridge scandal, will talk for immunity". AOL. January 17, 2014.
- Haddon, Heather (January 27, 2014). "Joint Committee to Investigate Bridge Lane Closure Controversy". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved February 13, 2014.
- "Assembly Transportation, Public Works and Independent Authorities Committee (List of Hearings)". New Jersey Legislature. November 25, 2013. Retrieved January 12, 2014.
- Phillis, Michael (November 25, 2013). "Port Authority breaks silence on George Washington Bridge delays". The Record (Woodland Park, NJ). Retrieved January 11, 2014.
- "Official Blames Study for NYC Washington Bridge Lanes Closure". The Epoch Times. Associated Press. Retrieved January 12, 2014.
- "Baroni: GWB Lane Closures Were for Traffic Study". Associated Press. November 25, 2013. Retrieved January 11, 2014.
- Kroll, Andy & Corn, David (January 10, 2014). "Chris Christie's Not in the Clear Yet. These Text Messages Show Why". Mother Jones. Retrieved February 21, 2014.
- Hayes, Melissa & Phillis, Michael (February 19, 2014). "GWB scandal: Wildstein redacted name of state Sen. O’Toole in text message". The Record (Woodland Park, NJ). Retrieved February 21, 2014.
- "Bridge scandal probe should continue without key Republican: Editorial". The Star-Ledger (Newark, NJ). February 16, 2014. Retrieved February 21, 2014.
- Isherwood, Darryl (January 22, 2014). "The wrong Nicole? Assembly committee erred when it subpoenaed wife of Christie spokesman, source says". NJ.com. Retrieved February 13, 2014.
- Frumin, Aliyah (February 11, 2014). "Lawmakers probing Bridgegate’ serve 18 new subpoenas: Who's who". MSNBC. Retrieved February 13, 2014.
- Portnoy, Jenna (February 19, 2014). "Former Christie staffer under subpoena takes job with Port Authority". The Star-Ledger (Newark, NJ). Retrieved February 20, 2014.
- Mann, Ted (December 9, 2013). "Port Authority Chief Testifies in George Washington Bridge Flap". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved January 11, 2014.
- Aron, Michael (December 9, 2013). "Port Authority Officials Testify Before Assembly Transportation Committee". NJTV. Retrieved January 11, 2014.
- "Christie Administration Emails and Text Messages Related to GWB Lane Closures" (PDF). The Record. Woodland Park, NJ. January 8, 2014. Retrieved January 8, 2014.
- Zernike, Kate (January 8, 2014). "Emails Tie Top Christie Aides to Lane Closings, Despite Denials". The New York Times. Retrieved January 8, 2014.
- Portnoy, Jenna (January 8, 2014). "Gov. Chris Christie 'Outraged' in Statement on GWB Scandal". The Star-Ledger (Newark, NJ). Retrieved January 8, 2014.
- Strunsky, Steve (January 8, 2014). "GOP lawmaker says one day is not enough to review GWB documents". The Star-Ledger (Newark, NJ). Retrieved February 23, 2014.
- Boburg, Shawn; Reitmeyer, John; Akin, Stephanie (January 10, 2014). "Assembly panel charges contempt as David Wildstein refuses to testify on GWB scandal". The Record (Woodland Park, NJ). Retrieved March 13, 2014.
- Terkel, Amanda. "David Wildstein Held In Contempt After Refusing To Testify About Bridge Scandal". The Huffington Post. Retrieved January 10, 2014.
- Martinez, Michael (January 11, 2014). "NJ Democrat lawmaker on traffic scandal: 'I do think laws have been broken'". CNN.
- "NJ Rep.: 'Unbelievable' That Nobody Told Christie". Talking Points Memo. January 12, 2014. Retrieved January 16, 2014.
- "Chris Christie Scandal Is An 'Impeachable Offense' If He Knew, Dem Lawmaker Leading Probe Says". The Huffington Post. January 11, 2014. Retrieved January 16, 2014.
- "A Hiring by Christie Raises Questions Over Cooperation". The New York Times. January 16, 2014. Retrieved January 20, 2014.
- Costa, Robert (January 13, 2014). "Broader investigation of N.J. bridge closures launched". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 13, 2014.
- Reitmeyer, John (January 17, 2014). "Christie GWB scandal: Names of 18 served with subpoenas". The Record (Woodland Park, NJ). Retrieved January 17, 2014.
- Linhorst, Michael (January 21, 2014). "N.J. Assembly, Senate merge panels investigating GWB scandal". The Record (Woodland Park, NJ). Retrieved January 22, 2014.
- Johnson, Brent (January 24, 2014). "Bridge scandal: Members of NJ investigative committee are announced". The Star-Ledger (Newark, NJ). Retrieved January 25, 2014.
- Giambusso, David (January 27, 2014). "Bridge scandal: NJ lawmakers combine two investigations into one". The Star-Ledger (Newark, NJ). Retrieved January 27, 2014.
- Livio, Susan (January 28, 2014). "NJ Sen. President Stephen Sweeney won't challenge GOP appointment to GWB panel". The Star-Ledger (Newark, NJ). Retrieved January 28, 2014.
- Baxter, Christopher (January 27, 2014). "Bridge scandal subpoenas will be reissued by new joint NJ Legislature investigatory panel". The Star-Ledger (Newark, NJ). Retrieved January 27, 2014.
- Grant, Jason (January 31, 2014). "Bill Stepien's lawyer objects to legislative subpoena in bridge scandal, requests its withdrawal". The Star-Ledger (Newark, NJ). Retrieved February 1, 2014.
- "Attorney says longtime Christie adviser Bill Stepien will invoke Fifth Amendment". The Washington Post. January 31, 2014. Retrieved January 31, 2014.
- Grant, Jason (February 3, 2014). "Bridge scandal: Bridget Kelly refuses to turn over documents subpoenaed by legislative committee". The Star-Ledger (Newark, NJ). Retrieved February 3, 2014.
- Friedman, Matt (January 3, 2014). "Christie campaign among those granted temporary subpoena extension in bridge probe, lawyer says". The Star-Ledger (Newark, NJ). Retrieved January 3, 2014.
- Rizzo, Salvador (February 11, 2014). "Bridge scandal: Christie can use campaign cash for subpoena costs". The Star-Ledger (Newark, NJ). Retrieved February 12, 2014.
- Baxter, Christopher (February 10, 2014). "Panel investigating Chris Christie bridge scandal votes to compel insiders to produce records". The Star-Ledger (Newark, NJ). Retrieved February 10, 2014.
- "Chris Christie Investigators Issuing New Subpoenas In Bridgegate Probe". The Huffington Post. Associated Press. February 10, 2014. Retrieved January 16, 2014.
- Baxter, Christopher (February 10, 2014). "Christie bridge scandal: Recipients of 18 new subpoenas revealed". The Star-Ledger (Newark, NJ). Retrieved February 10, 2014.
- Johnson, Brent (February 11, 2014). "Chris Christie's helicopter did not fly over GWB last September, State Police says". The Star-Ledger. Newark, NJ. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
- Zernike, Kate & Chenjan, David W. (January 29, 2014). "For Christie, Politics Team Kept a Focus on Two Races". The New York Times. Retrieved February 23, 2014.
- Baxter, Christopher (February 12, 2014). "New bridge scandal subpoenas seek records related to Chris Christie, ARC tunnel and more". The Star-Ledger (Newark, NJ). Retrieved February 12, 2014.
- Mann, Ted (February 3, 2014). "Christie Ally Prepped Official Before George Washington Bridge Lane Closure Testimony; Philip Kwon, an Attorney at the PA, Helped to Prepare Bill Baroni". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved February 11, 2014.
- Isherwood, Darryl (February 28, 2014). "Watson Coleman steps down from bridgegate investigation committee after calling for Gov. Chris Christie to resign". The Star-Ledger (Newark, NJ). Retrieved February 28, 2014.
- Friedman, Matt (March 21, 2014). "Panel probing bridge scandal gets a new member, a South Jersey assemblyman". The Star-Ledger. Retrieved March 21, 2014.
- Baxter, Christopher (March 31, 2014). "Bridge scandal panel to subpoena records of Christie internal review". The Star-Ledger. Retrieved March 31, 2014.
- Delli Santi, Angela (March 31, 2014). "Christie's bridge scandal lawyers to be subpoenaed". Associated Press (KSL). Retrieved March 31, 2014.
- Hayes, Melissa (April 11, 2014). "GWB legislative panel knows identities of 75 interviewed in Christie's internal probe". The Record. Retrieved April 11, 2014.
- Baxter, Christopher (April 11, 2014). "Bridge scandal panel gets list of 75 people interviewed as part of Christie's review". The Star-Ledger. Retrieved April 11, 2014.
- Linhorst, Michael; Hayes, Melissa & Reitmeyer, John (April 14, 2014). "Bridge scandal papers show depth of Christie staffers' endorsement work". The Record. Retrieved April 14, 2014.
- Boburg, Shawn (April 9, 2014). "Judge: Christie ex-aides Kelly, Stepien can withhold documents in GWB probe". The Record. Retrieved April 9, 2014.
- Zernike, Kate (April 9, 2014). "Christie Aides Don’t Have to Turn Over Bridge Scandal Documents, Judge Rules". The New York Times. Retrieved April 9, 2014.
- Baxter, Christopher (April 9, 2014). "NJ judge rules against bridge scandal panel in subpoena fight". Retrieved April 10, 2014.
- Associated Press (April 9, 2014). "Former Christie aides can withhold documents in bridge scandal, judge rules". Fox News. Retrieved April 9, 2014.
- Strunsky, Steve (October 16, 2013). "George Washington Bridge lane closures prompt internal review, lawmaker outrage". The Star-Ledger. Retrieved April 3, 2014.
- Strunsky, Steve (December 10, 2013). "Port Authority's inspector general launches probe of GWB lane closures". The Star-Ledger. Retrieved April 3, 2014.
- Strunsky, Steve (February 17, 2014). "Probe ordered into Port Authority cop's role in GWB lane closures". The Star-Ledger. Retrieved April 3, 2014.
- Boburg, Shawn (February 16, 2014). "GWB Scandal: Port Authority chief wants investigation into PA cops' roles". The Record (Woodland Park, NJ). Retrieved February 17, 2014.
- Chung, Jen (January 9, 2014). "U.S. Attorney Now Investigating Bridgegate". Gothamist. Retrieved January 10, 2014.
- Reilly, Ryan J. (January 9, 2014). "Federal Inquiry Into Chris Christie Bridge Scandal Faces Uphill Battle". The Huffington Post.
- Viswanatha, Aruna (January 10, 2014). "Federal prosecution uncertain in New Jersey bridge scandal". Reuters.
- Terkel, Amanda (January 23, 2014). "U.S. Attorney Subpoenas Chris Christie Campaign Documents". The Huffington Post. Retrieved January 24, 2014.
- "Federal prosecutors subpoena Christie's campaign, NJ GOP committee". Fox News. January 23, 2014. Retrieved January 24, 2014.
- "New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie 'stunned at the abject stupidity' of aides in bridge closure scandal as probe continues". Daily News (New York). January 10, 2014. Retrieved January 18, 2014.
- "FBI and US attorney to probe bridge scandal looming over 2016 GOP hopeful Christie". RT Network. January 10, 2014. Retrieved January 30, 2014.
- Baxter, Christopher (February 24, 2014). "Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich met with U.S. Attorney's Office". The Star-Ledger (Newark, NJ). Retrieved February 24, 2014.
- Zambito, Thomas (February 27, 2014). "Bridge scandal: Christie's press secretary meets with federal prosecutors". NJ.com. Retrieved March 1, 2014.
- Baxter, Christopher (March 10, 2014). "David Samson subpoenaed by federal prosecutors in N.Y., reports say". The Star-Ledger. Retrieved April 3, 2014.
- Strunsky, Steve (March 10, 2014). "Feds rescind subpoena to Port Authority Chairman David Samson". The Star-Ledger. Retrieved April 3, 2014.
- Avila, Jim; Margolin, Josh; Waldron, Ben & Marshall, Serena (April 4, 2014). "ABC News Exclusive: Grand Jury Convened in Christie Bridge Scandal Probe". ABC News. Retrieved April 5, 2014.
- Zernike, Kate (April 4, 2014). "Grand Jury Questions Christie Aide in an Inquiry". The New York Times. Retrieved April 6, 2014.
- Grant, Jason (April 7, 2014). "David Wildstein met for several days with federal prosecutors in Newark, report says". The Star-Ledger. Retrieved April 8, 2014.
- Strunsky, Steve (January 16, 2014). "Port Authority answers questions posed by U.S. Senate committee". The Star-Ledger (Newark, NJ).
- Letter from Rockefeller to Port Authority
- Letter from Rockefeller to USDOT regarding lane closures
- Strunsky, Steve (January 17, 2014). "Port Authority answers U.S. Senate committee's questions on GWB closures, except one: Why?". The Star-Ledger (Newark, NJ).
- Port Authority's official response to initial Senate inquiry
- Strunsky, Steve (January 17, 2014). "Rockefeller: Port Authority response shows "zero evidence" of a traffic study behind GWB lane closures". The Star-Ledger (Newark, NJ).
- "Report from Christie's lawyer clears governor in payback plot, but other investigations loom". The Canadian Press (globalpost). March 27, 2014. Retrieved March 27, 2014.
- Isikoff, Michael. "Report: 'Upset' Christie Berates Staff During Tense Investigation". NBC News. March 27, 2014
- Bernstein, Andrea (March 31, 2014). "'Exhaustive' Christie Report Omitted Port Authority". WNYC. Retrieved April 2, 2014.
- Freidman, Matt (January 18, 2014). "Hoboken mayor claims Christie administration held city's Sandy recovery funds 'hostage' to help developer". The Star-Ledger.
- "The Record: The Mastro report". Editorial. The Record. March 28, 2014. Retrieved March 28, 2014.
- "Christie's Bridgegate investigation is baloney: Editorial". The Star-Ledger. March 24, 2014. Retrieved March 28, 2014.
- Magyar, Mark J. (April 15, 2014). "Bridgegate Panel To Begin Calling Witnesses Next Month". NJSpotlight. Retrieved April 15, 2014.
- Zernike, Kate (March 27, 2014). "Irate Friends See Sexism in Report on Former Christie Aide". The New York Times. Retrieved March 28, 2014.
- Grant, Jason (March 29, 2014). "Bridget Kelly's lawyer responds to internal Christie report". nj.com. Retrieved March 29, 2014.
- Statement from Kelly's lawyer
- Akin, Stephanie (February 10, 2014). "Giuliani is Christie's strongest defender amid the GWB scandal". The Record (Woodland Park, NJ). Retrieved March 13, 2014. (See table at end of article with list of twenty, and their legal reps, who received subpoenas due Feb 3, 2014 from the legislative committee.)
- "Michael B. Himmel". Lowenstein Sandler. Retrieved January 24, 2014.
- Isherwood, Darryl (December 19, 2013). "Who's footing the bill for former executives' 'Bridgegate' attorneys? The Port Authority's not saying". CNN. Retrieved January 24, 2014.
- "Angelo J. Genova". Genova Burns Giantomasi Webster. Retrieved January 24, 2014.
- Boburg, Shawn (January 19, 2014). "Port Authority chairman hires former Homeland Security chief as attorney in GWB probe". The Record (Woodland Park, NJ). Retrieved January 24, 2014.
- "Alan L. Zegas profile". Law Offices of Alan L. Zegas. Retrieved January 24, 2014.
- "Randy M. Mastro". Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. Retrieved January 24, 2014.
- Boburg, Shawn (January 31, 2014). "Christie office to pay $650 an hour for defense attorney in GWB lane-closure probes". The Record (Woodland Park, NJ). Retrieved January 31, 2014.
- "Michael Critchley, Sr. profile". Critchley, Kinum & Vazquez. Retrieved January 24, 2014.
- Boburg, Shawn (January 22, 2014). "GWB scandal: Ex-Christie aide Bridget Anne Kelly hires new lawyer". The Record (Woodland Park, NJ). Retrieved January 24, 2014.
- "Kevin H. Marino". Marino, Tortorella & Boyle. Retrieved January 24, 2014.
- Mann, Ted; Haddon, Heather (January 15, 2014). "Former Christie Campaign Manager Retains Attorney". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved January 24, 2014.
- "Mark D. Sheridan". Patton Boggs. Retrieved January 24, 2014.
- Isherwood, Darryl (February 25, 2014). "Patton Boggs set to shutter Newark office". Retrieved February 25, 2014.
- Tat, Linh (February 6, 2014). "Fort Lee provides mayor an attorney for GWB probes". The Record. Retrieved February 7, 2014.
- Boburg, Shawn (January 24, 2014). "GWB scandal: Port Authority won't pay legal bills for David Wildstein". The Record (Woodland Park, NJ). Retrieved January 24, 2014.
- Kurdzuk, Tony (January 31, 2014). "Attorney for ex-Port Authority official David Wildstein accuses Chris Christie of lying". The Star-Ledger (Newark, NJ). Retrieved January 31, 2014.
- Isherwood, Darryl (January 16, 2014). "Christie administration hires former prosecutor to aid in Bridgegate investigations". NJ.com. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
- Cohen, Tom (January 16, 2014). "Christie administration lawyers up; subpoenas going out". CNN. Retrieved January 24, 2014.
- Kornacki, Steve (February 11, 2014). "Christie camp goes on the offensive (at 5:45 of video)". MSNBC. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
- "Don't stick taxpayers with Christie's legal bill". Editorial. Daily Record (Parsippany, NJ). February 7, 2014. Retrieved March 12, 2014.
- Mann, Ted (January 17, 2014). "Concerns Raised Over Christie Administration's Bridge Lawyers". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved January 20, 2014.
- Grant, Jason (February 22, 2014). "Chris Christie's lawyer for bridge scandal withdraws as Port Authority's counsel in separate lawsuit". The Star-Ledger (Newark, NJ). Retrieved February 24, 2014.
- Linhorst, Michael (February 17, 2014). "Fort Lee mayor won't comply with Christie lawyer's request for information". The Record (Woodland Park, NJ). Retrieved February 20, 2014.
- Hutchins, Randy (February 12, 2013). "Christie's bridge scandal lawyers seek interview with former top aide, Fort Lee mayor". The Star-Ledger (Newark, NJ). Retrieved February 13, 2014.
- Rizzo, Salvador (April 14, 2014). "Bridge scandal: NJ taxpayers to pay legal bills for at least 5 officials". The Star-Ledger. Retrieved April 15, 2014.
- Phillis, Michael (April 14, 2014). "N.J. Attorney General hires law firms to represent state workers in GWB probe". The Record. Retrieved April 15, 2014.
- Friedman, Matt (February 4, 2014). "Resigned Christie staffer is married to Pinelands pipeline company exec". The Star-Ledger. Retrieved April 15, 2014.
- Buettner, Russ (March 4, 2014). "In Job, Appointee Profits and Christie Gains Power". The New York Times. Retrieved March 9, 2014.
- "Port Authority chairman David Samson should resign". Editorial. The Star-Ledger (Newark, NJ). February 20, 2014. Retrieved February 21, 2014.
- "Sack Samson: Port Authority chairman has to hit the road". Editorial. Daily News (New York). February 25, 2014. Retrieved February 26, 2014.
- "The PA clique". Editorial. The Record. February 28, 2014. Retrieved March 7, 2014.
- "Time for David Samson to Go". Editorial. The New York Times. March 5, 2014. Retrieved March 7, 2014.
- Ensslin, John C. (March 4, 2014). "Bergen County Freeholders call for chairman of Port Authority and N.J. commissioners to resign". The Record (Woodland Park, NJ). Retrieved March 5, 2014.
- Symons, Michael (February 26, 2014). "Gov. Chris Christie 'strongly, firmly' supports David Samson as Port Authority chairman". Asbury Park Press. Retrieved February 28, 2014.
- John Culhane (January 14, 2014). "How to Sue Over the Christie Bridge Scandal and Win". Slate. Retrieved January 25, 2014.
- Markos, Kirbet (January 9, 2014). "Six Bergen County residents file class-action lawsuits over GWB scandal". The Record (Woodland Park, NJ). Retrieved January 11, 2014.
- "Bridgegate: Six NJ residents file lawsuit against Christie, Port Authority". NJ.com. Associated Press. January 9, 2014.
- Complaint, docket entry 1, January 9, 2014, and Amended Complaint, docket entry 5, January 20, 2014, Zachary Galicki, et al. v. State of New Jersey, Christopher James Christie, Bridget Anne Kelly, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, Bill Baroni, David Wildstein, et al., case no. 2:14-cv-00169-KM-MCA, U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey (Newark Div.)
- Markos, Kirbet (January 14, 2014). "Cabbies caught in GWB lane closure traffic sue Christie's staff for damages". The Record (Woodland Park, NJ). Retrieved January 14, 2014.
- Phillis, Michael (December 3, 2013). "Christie says it's Democrats, not he, playing politics with GWB traffic flap". The Record. Woodland Park, NJ. Retrieved January 10, 2014.
- Katz, Matt. "3 Stages of Chris Christie's Crisis Management". New York: WNYC-TV. Retrieved January 13, 2014.
- Mann, Ted; Orden, Erica; Haddon, Heather (December 12, 2013). "Governors Spoke Privately About Bridge Controversy: Chris Christie Complained to Andrew Cuomo That His Appointee Was Pressing Too Hard for Answers". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved January 11, 2014.
- "Gov. Chris Christie called Andrew Cuomo to complain about handling of PA lane closing snafu, report says". The Star-Ledger (Newark, NJ). December 13, 2013. Retrieved January 11, 2014.
- McCalmont, Lucy (December 13, 2013). "Report: Chris Christie calls Andrew Cuomo over traffic flap". Politico.
- Terkel, Amanda (December 13, 2013). "Chris Christie Denies Political Payback In Bridge Controversy As Top Appointee Resigns". The Huffington Post. Retrieved January 13, 2014.
- "Are the police involved in ‘bridgegate’?". MSNBC. February 17, 2014. Retrieved February 24, 2014.(see 7:25 of video. other related discussions with Haddon start at 3:33 and 7:00 of video.)
- Portnoy, Jenna (December 13, 2013). "Gov. Christie Announces Another Top Port Authority Official Has Resigned after GWB Flap". The Star-Ledger (Newark, NJ). Retrieved December 19, 2013.
- McCalmont, Lucy (December 13, 2013). "Chris Christie: Andrew Cuomo Story 'Wrong'". Politico. Retrieved January 8, 2014.
- Jordan, Bob (December 15, 2013). "Bridge Scandal Signals Dems Ready to Give Christie a Hard Time". Asbury Park Press. Retrieved January 8, 2014.
- Boburg, Shawn (January 8, 2013). "Christie stuck in a jam over GWB lane closings". The Record (Woodland Park, NJ). Retrieved March 13, 2014.
- Santora, Marc; Rashbaum, William (January 9, 2014). "Christie Fires Aide in Bridge Scandal as U.S. Opens Inquiry". The New York Times. Retrieved January 9, 2014.
- "Christie news conference". CNN. November 6, 2013. Retrieved January 9, 2014.
- "2013 Election Information". New Jersey Department of State. Retrieved February 7, 2014.
- Cillizza, Chris. "5 big unanswered questions in Bridge-gate". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 13, 2014.
- Brent, Johnson (January 31, 2014). "Chris Christie responds to new bridge scandal allegations". The Star-Ledger (Newark, NJ). Retrieved January 31, 2014.
- Boburg, Shawn (January 31, 2014). "GWB scandal: Christie knew of bridge lane closures, ex-Port Authority official says". The Record (Woodland Park, NJ). Retrieved January 31, 2014.
- Boburg, Shawn & Hayes, Melissa (February 3, 2014). "Feds seek files from Christie's office; ex-aide Kelly won't turn over documents in response to subpoena". The Record (Woodland Park, NJ). Retrieved February 4, 2014.
- Caldwell, Leigh Ann (January 9, 2014). "Christie drops swagger amid heat of scandal". CNN. Retrieved January 9, 2014.
- Frumin, Aliyah (January 9, 2014). "Christie apologizes: 'I am embarrassed and humiliated'". NBC News. Retrieved January 9, 2014.
- Conroy, Scott (January 22, 2014). "RCP's Scott Conroy on Whether Christie Can Weather the Storm". Real Clear Politics. Retrieved February 19, 2014.(Interview with Steve Chaggaris of CBS News)
- Marcius, Chelsia Rose; Larson, Leslie & Mcshane, Larry (January 9, 2014). "'It's the worst example of a petty political vendetta': Fort Lee, NJ, Mayor Sokolich on retaliatory George Washington Bridge closings". Daily News (New York).
- "All in With Chris Hayes, January 9, 2014". transcript of broadcast show. MSNBC. Retrieved January 11, 2014.
- "Grass-roots group calls for Christie to resign". PolitickerNJ. January 10, 2014.
- Tucker, Michael (January 9, 2014). "The Real Victims". College Democrats.
- Springsteen, Bruce & Fallon, Jimmy. "Gov. Christie Traffic Jam ('Born To Run' Parody)". Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. Retrieved January 16, 2014 – via YouTube.
- "Christie bridge: Get over it". CNN. January 16, 2014. Retrieved February 11, 2014.
- Portnoy, Jenna (December 13, 2013). "Video: DNC asks if Chris Christie was behind closure of lanes to George Washington Bridge". The Star-Ledger (Newark, NJ). Retrieved February 2, 2014.
- Isherwood, Daryl (January 8, 2014). "National Democrats out with new 'Bridgegate' video slapping Chris Christie in advance of hearing". The Star-Ledger (Newark, NJ). Retrieved February 2, 2014.
- Walshe, Shushannah (February 2, 2014). "DNC Hits Christie in Superbowl Themed Online Ad". ABC News. Retrieved February 2, 2014.
- "DNC releases football-themed attack ad on New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie". Fox News. February 2, 2014. Retrieved February 2, 2014.
- Johnson, Brent (February 10, 2014). "DNC blasts Chris Christie with Facebook parody video". The Star-Ledger (Newark, NJ). Retrieved February 10, 2014.
- Strunsky, Steve (February 5, 2014). "Port Authority eliminates 'director' job created for Wildstein". The Star-Ledger (Newark, NJ). Retrieved February 6, 2014.
- Kopan, Tal (January 9, 2014). "Kean: Christie questions remain". Politico. Retrieved April 13, 2014.
- Lizza, Ryan (April 14, 2014). "Crossing Christie". The New Yorker.
- "56% in NJ Think Christie Should Resign If He Knew About Fort Lee Retaliation". Rasmussen Reports. January 10, 2014. Retrieved January 14, 2014.
- "Bridgegate Takes Toll On Christie's 2016 Hopes, Quinnipiac University National Poll Finds; Hillary Clinton Is Big Winner As NJ Gov Crashes". Rasmussen Reports. January 21, 2014. Retrieved January 24, 2014.
- Hayes, Melissa (January 22, 2014). "Christie's favorable rating drops after GWB controversy, poll finds". The Record (Woodland Park, NJ). Retrieved January 24, 2014.
- Edwards-Levy, Ariel (February 24, 2014). "Chris Christie's Approval Rating Continues To Fall In New Jersey". The Huffington Post. Retrieved February 24, 2014.
- "Chris Christie Dragged Further Under the Bridge" (PDF). Monmouth University. February 24, 2014. Retrieved February 24, 2014.
- Kleinfieldjan, N. R. (January 12, 2014). "A Bridge to Scandal: Behind the Fort Lee Ruse". The New York Times.
- Kelly, Mike (February 8, 2014). "GWB scandal: Fort Lee mayor now says Christie campaign courted him for endorsement". The Record (Woodland Park, NJ). Retrieved February 9, 2014.
- Steinberg, Russell (June 1, 2012). "Fort Lee redevelopment plan unveiled". The Real Deal. Retrieved January 21, 2014.
- "Steve Kornacki Floats New Theory About Chris Christie's Bridge Scandal". The Huffington Post. January 12, 2014. Retrieved January 16, 2014.
- Murphy, Brian (January 12, 2014). "Is a Billion-Dollar Development Project at the Heart of Bridgegate?". Talking Points Memo. Retrieved January 14, 2014.
- "Following the Money on 'Bridgegate'". Business Insider. Retrieved January 14, 2014.
- Connolly, Matt (January 10, 2013). "Meet the Other Mayor Accusing Chris Christie of Retaliation". Mother Jones. Retrieved January 13, 2014.
- Barro, Josh (January 10, 2014). "Chris Christie's People Would've Gotten Away With Bridgegate If They Had Gone With Their Original Plan". Business Insider. Retrieved January 12, 2014.
- Kornacki, Steve & Murphy, Brian (February 22, 2014). "Document: Month-long traffic study for Fort Lee". MSNBC. Retrieved February 25, 2014.
- Hayes, Melissa (February 19, 2014). "Port Authority cop offered to reroute GWB traffic". The Record (Woodland Park, NJ). Retrieved February 28, 2014.
- "Exhibit D, Submitted to the Transportation, Public Works and Independent Authorities Committee from Patrick J. Foye" (PDF). NJ Legislature. December 19, 2013. Retrieved February 26, 2014. p. 10 of 268, marked "PA - PF - 000008".
- Kleinfield, N. R. (January 12, 2014). "A Bridge to Scandal: Behind the Fort Lee Ruse". The New York Times. Retrieved February 26, 2014.
- Stile, Charles (January 15, 2014). "Stile: Instead of a promising vision, Christie address a somber reminder of reality". The Record (Woodland Park, NJ). Retrieved January 15, 2014.
- Costa, Robert. "Scandal upstages Christie's State of the State speech". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 15, 2014.
- Zernike, Kate & Flegenheimer, Matt (March 11, 2014). "Even Before Fort Lee Lane Closings, Port Authority Was a Christie Tool". The New York Times. Retrieved March 15, 2014.
- Baxter, Christopher (February 10, 2014). "Panel investigating Chris Christie bridge scandal votes to compel insiders to produce records". The Star-Ledger (Newark, NJ). Retrieved February 10, 2014.
- Katz, Matt. "New Bridgegate Subpoenas Probe Christie Chopper". New York: WNYC-TV. Retrieved February 23, 2014.
- Boburg, Shawn; McGrath, Matthew (February 11, 2014). "Christie administration attorney requests documents from Fort Lee related to GWB scandal". The Record (Woodland Park, NJ). Retrieved February 13, 2014.
- Eric, Lach (February 13, 2014). "Christie Lawyer Trying To Find Out What Reporters Have On The Governor". Talking Points Memo. Retrieved February 13, 2014.
- Magyar, Mark (February 11, 2014). "Gordon: Governor's Office Refuses to Appear Before Legislative Committee". NJ Spotlight. Retrieved February 11, 2014.
- Kelly, Mike (February 16, 2014). "Kelly: GWB probe to look at why Port Authority cops pointed stalled drivers toward Fort Lee mayor". The Record (Woodland Park, NJ). Retrieved February 20, 2014.
- Baxter, Christopher (February 18, 2014). "Bridge scandal panel to take Bill Stepien, Bridget Anne Kelly to court over subpoenas". The Star-Ledger (Newark, NJ). Retrieved February 19, 2014.
- Serrano, Ken (February 19, 2014). "Christie's former aide refuses to comply with subpoena". USA Today. Retrieved February 19, 2014.
- Hutchins, Ryan (February 19, 2014). "Bridge scandal: Fort Lee releases 2,211 pages requested by Christie lawyer". The Star-Ledger (Newark, NJ). Retrieved February 19, 2014.
- "Port Authority Official ‘Deeply Sorry’ for Closed Lanes". The New York Times. February 19, 2014. Retrieved February 20, 2014.
- Kelly, Mike (February 19, 2014). "Kelly: An apology for 'inconvenience'". The Record (Woodland Park, NJ). Retrieved February 21, 2014.
- Livio, Susan (February 20, 2014). "Christie bridge scandal: court date set for subpoena showdown". The Star-Ledger (Newark, NJ). Retrieved February 20, 2014.
- Livio, Susan (February 19, 2014). "Bridge scandal panel asks judge to compel Christie advisers to produce records". The Star-Ledger (Newark, NJ). Retrieved February 20, 2014.
- Seidman, Andrew (March 3, 2014). "Attorney says FBI visited former Christie campaign manager". The Philadelphia Inquirer (Philly.com). Retrieved March 4, 2014.
- Boburg, Shawn (March 3, 2014). "GGWB scandal: Lawyer for former Christie adviser says client appears to be focus of federal investigation". The Record (Woodland Park, NJ: NorthJersey.com). Retrieved March 13, 2014.
- Rashbaum, William K. (March 4, 2014). "Head of Port Authority Police Union Questioned in Bridge Inquiry". The New York Times. Retrieved March 6, 2014.
- Grant, Jason (March 7, 2014). "Bridget Kelly's lawyer files court papers battling subpoena, criticizes committee co-chair". The Star-Ledger (Newark, NJ). Retrieved March 8, 2014.
- MacGillis, Alec (March 24, 2014). "Christie's Exoneration By His Own Lawyers Is Even More Conflicted Than It Looks". The New Republic. Retrieved March 24, 2014.
- Composite aerial images of GW Bridge traffic flow around the upper-level toll plaza (illustrations with one and three toll lanes opened at the affected Fort Lee entrance)
- Composite NJ DOT map showing jurisdictions of highways leading to the bridge (affected Fort Lee entrance to upper-level toll plaza shown at "Kelby St" label on the map)
- News coverage about GW Bridge lane closure scandal from NJ.com (especially latest news from The Star-Ledger)
- News coverage about GW Bridge lane closure scandal from NorthJersey.com (especially latest news from The Record)
- Subpoenaed documents released by New Jersey Legislature
- Transcript of Christie's January 9, 2014, press conference
- Mastro's investigation report commissioned by the Office of the Governor of New Jersey (released on March 27, 2014, and updated on April 14 with a list of 75 interviewees and lawyers' memorandums summarizing each interview)