Ex-Staffer: Christie Approved Bridgegate Lane Closures

Bridget Anne Kelly testified Friday
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 22, 2016 4:57 PM CDT
Ex-Staffer: Christie Approved Bridgegate Lane Closures
Gov. Chris Christie's former deputy chief of staff Bridget Anne Kelly leaves court after a hearing Wednesday in Newark, N.J.   (AP Photo/Mel Evans, File)

Despite what Chris Christie has said, his former deputy chief of staff testified Friday that she told him about the 2013 lane closures on the George Washington Bridge a month before they happened, New York Magazine reports. Bridget Anne Kelly is facing charges of conspiracy and fraud for her role in Bridgegate, in which bridge lanes were closed allegedly to create traffic problems for the city of Fort Lee, whose mayor hadn't supported Christie's re-election bid, according to the New Jersey Star-Ledger. Kelly sent an infamous email to David Wildstein, who has pleaded guilty to masterminding Bridgegate, in which she said "time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee." In court Friday, Kelly said she was just re-using Wildstein's phrase and still thought the lane closures were for a legitimate traffic study. "If I had said 'time for a traffic study,' we wouldn't have all known each other," she said to jurors.

Not only did Christie know about the lane closures, important people in his "inner circle" did too, and no one acted like it was a "big deal," Kelly testified. She also said Christie directly approved the lane closures. Throughout her testimony, Kelly broke down while talking about being "afraid" of Christie and his temper, the New York Daily News reports. She said he once hit her with a water bottle when she suggested he moderate a panel of cabinet members and business leaders. "He said, 'What the [expletive] do you think I am? A [expletive] game show host," Kelly testified. (More Bridgegate stories.)

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