Former aide to N.J. Gov. Chris Christie 'dumbfounded,' 'disheartened' and 'disappointed'

A former Christie staffer, now working for the New Hampshire Republican Party, denies any direct knowledge of "Bridgegate."
By Frances Burns  |  May 20, 2014 at 2:54 PM
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TRENTON, N.J., May 20 (UPI) -- A former campaign staffer for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie testified Tuesday that his colleagues seemed unconcerned when the Fort Lee mayor refused to back Christie.

Matt Mowers, who also worked as an aide to the governor, said he was "disheartened and disappointed" -- and "dumbfounded and disappointed" -- by allegations that some of those around the governor caused four days of traffic jams in Fort Lee as political payback to Mayor Mark Sokolich. Mowers, who is now executive director of the New Hampshire Republican Party, said he had no first-hand knowledge of "Bridgegate."

"Personally, I am disheartened and disappointed by the events I have read about in the press," he said.

Mowers told a legislative panel investigating the scandal that he asked Sokolich to join some other Democratic mayors in endorsing Christie. He received a quick and emphatic rejection.

"Upon passing this information to others, no one I spoke with seemed overly interested or concerned," he said, adding that as far as he knew no one in the campaign raised the issue again with Sokolich.

Top executives at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey appointed by Christie ordered access lanes in Fort Lee shut down in September, ostensibly for a traffic study. An email later surfaced from Bridget Anne Kelly, then Christie's chief of staff, saying it was "time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee."

"I sit here dumbfounded and disappointed that the actions seemingly taken by a few rogue individuals have tainted the good work that so many have done," Mowers said.

The scandal is also being investigated by the U.S. Attorney for New Jersey. Christie ordered an internal review by a top law firm that cleared him of any wrongdoing.

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