DEVELOPING STORY: Ex Official: Christie Knew About Bridge Lane C - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

DEVELOPING STORY: Ex Official: Christie Knew About Bridge Lane Closings

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NBCNEWS.COM - New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie knew about the controversial closing of lanes on the George Washington Bridge when it happened last year, a former close aide alleged Friday in a letter obtained by NBC News.

Christie — who's considered a serious contender for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination — has repeatedly denied having known about the closing of two of three local access lanes from Fort Lee, N.J., to the bridge, which is one of the busiest in the world. The closing froze traffic for four days — allegedly in retaliation over the mayor's refusal to endorse him in the 2013 governor's race.

In the letter to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (.pdf), a lawyer for David Wildstein — the Port Authority official who actually ordered the closings — says there is evidence "tying Mr. Christie to having knowledge of the lane closures, during the period when the lanes were closed."

The letter was first reported Friday by The New York Times and subsequently obtained by NBC News.

The purpose of the letter is to contest the Port Authority's refusal to pay Wildstein's legal bill. But if the allegation is substantiated, it would directly contradict repeated denials by Christie that he knew about the lane closings — as the letter itself notes.

"Mr. Wildstein contests the accuracy of various statements that the Governor made about him and he can prove the inaccuracy of some," it says, although it provides no hint of what that evidence might be.

It's the latest piece in a puzzle that has been emerging over the past few months of Christie as a swaggering political bully.

Emails came to light early this month revealing the involvement of Christie aides in closing the bridge lanes, ostensibly so that the study of traffic patterns could be conducted. But the emails indicated that the action was actually aimed at Fort Lee Mayor Chris Skolich over his refusal to endorse Christie for re-election, which he easily won in November.

Then, Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer said she had met with investigators and had turned over documents establishing that two Christie Cabinet members threatened to withhold relief aid for reconstruction after Hurricane Sandy unless she approved a redevelopment project favored by the governor.

Numerous state and federal agencies are investigating what's come to be known as "Bridgegate," and 17 allies of Christie — as well as the governor’s office and his 2013 re-election campaign — have been ordered to hand over documents related to the scandal by Monday.

At least Four Christie associates have resigned, have been fired or have had their ties to the governor cut, including Wildstein.

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