Thursday, January 18, 2018
News Roundup

Documents reveal more joking about N.J. traffic jams

TRENTON, N.J. — The latest documents released by a New Jersey legislative committee looking into a political payback scandal surrounding Gov. Chris Christie show two figures at the heart of the case making running jokes about creating traffic jams as a way to strike at enemies.

Three weeks before the manufactured tie-ups near the George Washington Bridge, the two Christie-connected officials exchanged text messages about a rabbi who had bothered them. Since 2010, the rabbi has been a chaplain for the agency that runs the bridge, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

Bridget Kelly, then an aide to Christie, was apparently joking when she sent an Aug. 19 text saying: "We cannot cause traffic problems in front of his house, can we?"

David Wildstein, who was Christie's No. 2 man at the Port Authority, responded: "Flights to Tel Aviv all mysteriously delayed." He appeared to be joking, although the Port Authority does run the major New York City area airports, as well.

"Perfect," Kelly wrote.

The exchange came six days after Kelly's previously disclosed message to Wildstein: "Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee."

Partly unredacted emails were made public Thursday by the legislative committee looking into political retribution in Christie's administration.

Christie has maintained he was not involved in the lane closures or a coverup and had no knowledge of the scheme before it happened.

Christie fired Kelly last month and cut ties with two-time campaign manager Bill Stepien after the first batch of documents provided by Wildstein were made public.

By then, Wildstein had already stepped down from his job at the Port Authority.

The rabbi referred to in the one exchange was not mentioned by name, though Wildstein began the conversation by texting Kelly a photo of a man who appears to be Mendy Carlebach posing with House Speaker John Boehner. Carlebach said Thursday he didn't know why the two would have been upset with him.

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