Bridget Anne Kelly Called 'Emotional' In Chris Christie's Internal Report Of Bridge Scandal
A report from the internal investigation regarding the so-called "Bridgegate," the lane closures of the George Washington Bridge, has cleared New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and points to former deputy chief of staff Bridget Anne Kelly.
Bridget Anne Kelly: A Woman Scorned
According to the report, Kelly closed the lanes on the bridge because she was “emotional” after having been dumped by her boyfriend, Bill Stepien, Christie’s previous deputy chief of staff. Kelly has since been fired.
“Kelly had become Deputy Chief of Staff, assuming the post left vacant by her predecessor, Stepien, who had departed in April 2013 to run the Governor’s re-election campaign. Because Stepien was her ‘benefactor,’ Kelly relied heavily on him during this transition. And at some point after Stepien’s departure to run the campaign, Kelly and Stepien became personally involved, although, by early August 2013, their personal relationship had cooled, apparently at Stepien’s choice, and they largely stopped speaking. Around that same time, Wildstein started pressing Port Authority engineers to assess the traffic effects resulting from the dedicated Fort Lee toll lanes leading onto the George Washington Bridge,” reads the report.
Kelly is characterized as “emotional” multiple times throughout the report, and her relationship with Stepien was included in the official findings dispite the fact that neither Stepien nor Kelly were interviewed for the report.
“The report’s inclusion of a gratuitous reference to Mr. Stepien’s brief dating relationship with Bridget Anne Kelley… is a regrettable distraction that has no place in this report,” reads a statement from Stepien.
New Jersey State Senator Loretta Weinberg (D) dismissed the report’s remarks regarding Kelly’s love life, calling it “inappropriate.”
Chris Christie Cleared By Internal Review
The firm of Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher, which was hired by Gov. Christie, wrote the report, leading some to question the validity of its findings. The report cleared Christie of any knowledge or involvement in the lane closings, instead saying that the entire event was orchestrated by David Wildstein, from the Port Authority, and Kelly.
“We further found based on our investigation that David Wildstein was the person who originated this idea and orchestrated it. That David Wildstein went to Bridget Kelly for approval in the governor’s office and that they had an ulterior motive for implementing that decision to in someway target Mayor Sokolic in Fort Lee,” Randy Mastro, one of Christie’s lawyers, told reporters.
As for what ulterior motive they might have had for closing the lanes, the report does not say. It did, however, state that claims that rumors of Christie’s bullying tactics were “unsubstantiated” and Christie “knew nothing about this decision [to close the lanes] in advance.”
This internal report, however, will not be the final word on the matter, as independent reviews and investigations are ongoing. Weinberg and her colleague State Assemlyman John Wisniewiski are heading the legislative investigation and have raised serious doubts as to the credibility of the report.
“Lawyers hired and paid by the Christie administration itself to investigate the governor’s office who then say the governor and most of his office did nothing wrong will not be the final word on this matter,” reads a statement by Wisniewski and Weinberg.
“This review has deficiencies that raise questions about a lack of objectivity and thoroughness. We will continue to pursue our investigation wherever the facts lead. We want a full accounting of the lane closings and any related abuse of power and what can be done to ensure this doesn’t happen again,” the statement continues.
– Olivia Truffaut-Wong
More on Chris Christie:
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