One of New Jersey’s leading Democrats says the information that’s been given to the press and public about Gov. Chris Christie’s “Bridgegate” scandal is just the tip of the iceberg and further investigation will reveal that the cover-up runs deeper than initially believed.
Assembly Deputy Speaker John Wisniewski said to The Daily Mail that the emerging scandal either shows “a governor who can’t manage his staff or one who isn’t telling the truth.” Mr. Christie’s claim that he just learned Wednesday that his leading staffers took political revenge against a mayor who didn’t support his re-election by closing lanes on the George Washington Bridge defies logic, Mr. Wisniewski said.
“It strains credibility that a governor who is as hands-on as he is would suddenly have a senior member of his administration go rogue like this,” he said, in The Daily Mail.
And the fact that a former transportation official, David Wildstein, appointed by Mr. Christie refused to answer questions at a Thursday public hearing convened by Mr. Wisniewski — and in fact, invoked the Fifth Amendment — only shows that this is “just the tip of the cover-up,” the Democrat lawmaker said, in the news outlet.
Mr. Wildstein resigned from his New York, New Jersey Port Authority post in December. But emails have surfaced that possibly tie Mr. Wildstein to the decision to close the bridge lanes, resulting in widespread traffic jams — and leading to several New Jersey residents to file a class-action law suit against Mr. Christie and his office over late and missed work hours.
That suit was filed late Thursday.
Mr. Christie has apologized for what he claimed were rogue actions of several of his key political appointees. He also spoke directly to the supposed target of the political plot, Mayor Mark Sokolich of Fort Lee, and expressed his humble apologies and regrets. The governor has also fired a staffer who he said lied to him about the bridge lane closure.
Mr. Wisniewski, who chairs the assembly’s transportation committee, also said in reference to Mr. Wildstein’s failure to address the matter at Thursday’s impromptu hearing: “We’ve never had a hearing where someone took the Fifth so much. I mean, some of the questions were just about figuring out who a text message was from or who it was sent to. That’s hardly the kind of thing that creates liability for anyone. David Wildstein is just the tip of the cover-up.”
He said his committee would be issuing subpoenas for the other staffers and political appointees to give testimony as well, The Daily Mail reported.