- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 10, 2016

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — A former aide to Chris Christie texted to a colleague that the New Jersey governor “flat out lied” during a news conference about the George Washington Bridge lane-closing scandal, according to a new court filing.

A transcript of the text is contained in court filings submitted late Tuesday night by attorneys representing Bill Baroni, who faces trial next month with Christie’s ex-deputy chief of staff for allegedly helping to orchestrate the September 2013 lane closures. The closures were meant to create traffic jams in the city of Fort Lee to punish its Democratic mayor for not endorsing the Republican governor, officials say.

Christie’s office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. He was in New York on Wednesday morning appearing as a guest on a sports radio talk show.

He wasn’t charged in the lane-closing scandal and has denied knowing anything about the alleged scheme in advance.

The text exchange between Christina Renna, Christie’s director of intergovernmental affairs, and Peter Sheridan, a staffer on his re-election campaign, came while Christie was telling reporters at a news conference in December 2013 that no one in his office was involved in the lane closings.

Renna texted Sheridan that Christie “flat out lied” in saying his senior staff and campaign manager Bill Stepien weren’t involved.

According to the court filing, Sheridan texted Renna to say Christie was “doing fine. Holding his own up there.”

Renna responds with, “Yes. But he lied. And if emails are found with the subpoena or … emails are uncovered in discovery if it comes to that it could be bad.”

At the news conference in question, on Dec. 13, 2013, Christie said he had “made it very clear to everybody on my senior staff that if anyone had any knowledge about this that they needed to come forward to me and tell me about it, and they’ve all assured me that they don’t.”

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