Report: Emails show top Christie staffer tied to bridge shutdown

FILE - In this Dec. 19, 2013 file photo, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie speaks Trenton, N.J. A North Jersey newspaper reports that emails it obtained show that a top aide to Christie at least had some involvement in the unexpected shutdown of lanes on the George Washington Bridge. (AP Photo/Mel Evans, File)

A Northern New Jersey newspaper is reporting it obtained private emails between a top Gov. Christie staffer and executives at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey that show they intended to create “traffic problems” as part of a political retaliation.

The Record of Bergen County said the messages show they wanted to shut lanes to the George Washington Bridge and were pleased at the ensuing gridlock.

The messages refer to the Fort Lee mayor who did not support Christie in his re-election bid. The Democratic mayor, Mark Sokolich, became frantic when the traffic to the bridges was suddenly restricted in September, causing gridlock and hampering the ability of emergency personnel to negotiate the span.

Fort Lee is in the shadow of the bridge.

The newspaper, which posted the story on its website, said the messages it obtained shed doubt on claims by the Christie administration that the sudden closure of local access lanes to the bridge were part of a traffic study being performed by the Port Authority.

Rather, they demonstrate that Christie’s deputy chief of staff had at least some involvement.

“Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee,” Bridget Anne Kelly, one of three top Christie deputies, wrote to an executive at the Port Authority weeks before the closures.

You can read the emails obtained by the Bergen Record here.

The New York Times is also reporting a similar story based on the emails.

The Times noted that Christie canceled his public event schuled for today after the emails surfaced publicly for the first time.

Both newspapers obtained the documents, which were heavily redacted, from Port Authority officials after Democratic legislators had subpoenaed records related to the road closures.