Christie reiterates he knew nothing about 'Bridgegate'

Feb. 3, 2014 at 9:15 PM
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TRENTON, N.J., Feb. 3 (UPI) -- New Jerseyans who called the "Ask the Governor" radio show Monday had little interest in "Bridgegate," asking Chris Christie just one question about it.

Instead, Garden State residents asked Christie about problems with a high school auto mechanics course, landlord-tenant laws, the expansion of casino gambling and the use of eminent domain.

One woman did ask the governor why he didn't make inquiries about the traffic backups on the George Washington Bridge at Fort Lee when they were occurring last fall, ostensibly during a traffic-pattern study but now being investigated as possible political payback.

As he had said at the top of the program, Christie told the caller he didn't know about the problem initially and when he did have his staff check it out, he was told it was a traffic study. He said he didn't learn there were "some political overtones to this as well" until emails came out Jan. 8.

"I still don't know if there was a traffic study ... that morphed into some political shenanigans or if it started as political shenanigans that morphed into a traffic study," Christie said.

The governor said he has urged anyone with information about what led to the scandal to cooperate with investigators, but he doesn't begrudge anyone who exercises their constitutional rights not to talk.

Christie, who has seen his popularity fall and status as a potential Republican presidential contender tarnished in the short term, said the scandal won't distract him from doing his job.

"No one's going to stop me from doing my job," he said.

Before the call-in portion of the radio program, Christie stated multiple times he didn't know anything about the bridge lane closures or the planning that went into the issue before they happened.

He said his staff has started putting together the documents being sought by investigators and "we didn't ask for an extension."

Along with legislative and federal probes, Christie has hired an outside law firm to do an internal investigation.

"I can't wait for them to be finished so I can get the full story here," he said.

He said he wants to see a thorough investigation but one done "as quickly as possible." He said if there is anyone responsible for any wrongdoing they will be held accountable but said it would be "inappropriate" for him to say what prosecutors should or should not do in the case.

"What's going on now is just a game of gotcha," he said. "Before these lanes were closed, I didn't know anything about it. I didn't plan it. I didn't authorize it.

"I had nothing to do with this," he said. "So I am disappointed that this has happened. But I'm also determined to get to the bottom of it and get it fixed once and for all if I haven't already by the actions I've already taken.

"I can't afford to let this dominate my time. I've got to do my job every day. I'm going to be damned if anything is going to get in the way of me doing my job."

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