New Bridgegate documents show Christie aides were warned of the hazards

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NEW YORK (PIX11) – Not only were people who were close to Chris Christie warned that their plans to shut down access to the George Washington Bridge could be hazardous, the senior official, and Chris Christie friend, who directed the effort came in person to look at the results.

“Concerns were made to no aval (sic),” wrote the commander of the Port Authority Police G.W. Bridge Command, with a misspelling, regarding orders given to him days before the traffic closures.

It was in one of the more than 3,000 subpoenaed documents released Friday afternoon by the New Jersey State Assembly transportation committee, which is investigating the September 9-12 bridge shutdown.

Most of the newly released documents, available on the state legislature website, were not accessible for hours, because heavy demand overtaxed the servers.

However, documents from the police bridge commander, Deputy Inspector Darcy Licorish, were accessible.  In them, Licorish puts in writing that the bridge general manager, Robert Durando, told him days before the closure that it would happen on September 9th, the first day of school.

In response, the deputy inspector writes, he asked two things:  “if this is a permanent plan, or temporary,” and were there “notifications to the township” of Fort Lee.  “No answers could be supplied,” he wrote.

The commander also wrote that he warned his bosses, on September 6th, the last weekday before the closures began, that “this measure could impact the volume of traffic from the local streets.”  He wrote that he was told in response  that “Mr. Wildstein is scheduled to visit the facility on the initiating date 9/9/13.”

It’s a reference to David Wildstein, a high school friend of Chris Christie and project director at the Port Authority.  Wildstein ordered the shutdown after receiving an email from Christie’s Deputy Chief of Staff Bridget Anne Kelly last August, reading, “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee.”

Kelly was terminated on Thursday, by Chris Christie’s order, and Wildstein resigned in December, as the bridge access scandal continued to grow.  Wildstein was also voted by legislators to be in contempt, after he refused to answer any of their questions at a hearing in Trenton on Thursday.

The newly released documents prove that Christie’s advisors were well aware that the lane closures would cause bad traffic problems.  Those documents were placed into evidence on Thursday, which was about 24 hours before their release, and was the same time that Chris Christie was holding his nearly two-hour news conference to insist that he did not know his senior staff had orchestrated the bridge access shutdown.

This is the second document release related to the so-called Bridgegate scandal.  The first, which happened earlier in the week, did not implicate Christie directly, and nowhere was his name mentioned.  It is not yet clear if the new document release will be free of any mention of the governor.

On Friday, state legislators indicated that they plan to subpoena Bridget Anne Kelly to testify before them. Prior to her testimony, there is likely to be another document release, as part of her subpoena.  Even if Christie’s name does not surface in that anticipated document release, or in the latest release on Friday, each time there’s a new subpoena, the Bridgegate story stays in the news.

For a potential 2016 presidential candidate, that’s most likely not a preferred action.

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