Emails released this week exposed illegal road lane closures in New Jersey, regarding the George Washington Bridge. The lane closures were allegedly ordered by the staff of Governor Chris Christie, to punish Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich, who would not support him in the election. The lane closure led to the death of a woman, when emergency services could not get through in time to transport her to the hospital. As such there is talk of the incident constituting criminal violations of the law.
School children were sitting for prolonged periods of time on buses stuck in traffic as well, to which select members of Christie's staff mocked in text messages, "They are children of Buono voters." Barbara Buono is a Democrat and political rival of Governor Christie, whom he handily beat in the November 2013 election.
For his part, Christie has denied all involvement and knowledge of the incident, stating he was "misled."
Christie stated, "What I've seen today for the first time is unacceptable," Christie said. "I am outraged and deeply saddened to learn that not only was I misled by a member of my staff, but this completely inappropriate and unsanctioned conduct was made without my knowledge. One thing is clear: this type of behavior is unacceptable and I will not tolerate it because the people of New Jersey deserve better. This behavior is not representative of me or my Administration in any way, and people will be held responsible for their actions."
"New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and his staff are trying to curtail political damage after emails and texts given to reporters on Wednesday (Jan. 8) showed one of his top aides had ordered the closing of two lanes on the busy George Washington Bridge to punish a local mayor who didn't endorse Christie in the recent governor's race."
EMS responses delayed by GWB lane closures in Fort Lee
Wednesday, January 8, 2014 Last updated: Wednesday January 8, 2014, 6:48 PM - FORT LEE – Emergency responders were delayed in attending to four medical situations – including one in which a 91-year-old woman lay unconscious – due to traffic gridlock caused by unannounced closures of access lanes to the George Washington Bridge, according to the head of the borough’s EMS department. The woman later died, borough records show.