NEWARK, N.J.—In the ongoing Bridgegate trial, former Governor Chris Christie Deputy Chief of Staff Bridget Kelly told the court today that she informed the governor of the so-called George Washington Bridge traffic study prior to the infamous lane closures.
Charged with conspiracy, Kelly said former Port Authority employee David Wildstein told her about his proposed traffic study, and told her it would make the governor look good. Subsequent to her receiving an email from Wildstein in which he told her that he had “an extraordinarily weird” matter to discuss with her, Kelly made the governor aware on August 12th, 2013 of Wildstein’s plan for a “traffic study.”
In his communication with Kelly, she said, Wildstein told her that the study would initially be a “tremendous problem for Fort Lee” but that the study would be so successful that they would ultimately be able to have an event with signs and banners celebrating the governor, who was running for reelection that year.
When she relayed that information to the governor, Christie inquired about the governor’s office’s relationship with Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich, said Kelly. On the stand today she said she told the governor she was unsure and would have to check, that she hadn’t heard anything about Fort Lee in some time.
Kelly said she thought little of the exchange at the time, as it was a busy day.
Christie asked Kelly to run the study by Chief of staff Kevin O’Dowd, the former deputy chief of staff recalled.
While she said the governor knew about the lane closures prior to them occurring, to be clear, Kelly did not say or imply that Christie knew anything about the punishing nature of the traffic study admitted to under oath by Wildstein.
When he was on the stand earlier in the trial, Widstein said he bragged to Christie at a 911 Memorial event about the study, and immediately after the event, the governor told Kelly that he had had a conversation with Wildstein, Christie’s former deputy chief said.
As for her “time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee” text, Kelly today said she said she was merely repeating or “parroting” language Wildstein had used in his communications with her.