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New documents reveal Christie aides joking about NJ traffic jams



TRENTON, N.J. (AP) -- The latest documents released by a New Jersey legislative committee looking into a political payback scandal surrounding Gov. Chris Christie show two figures at the heart of the case making running jokes about the idea of creating traffic jams as a way to strike at enemies.

The documents do not provide any new evidence about how deep into the plot Christie or his top staffers may have been, though it does reinforce the idea that some of the people involved were cavalier about what they were doing.

Three weeks before the massive tie-ups near the George Washington Bridge, the two Christie-connected officials exchanged text messages about a rabbi who had bothered them.

Bridget Kelly, then an aide to Christie, was apparently joking when she sent an Aug. 19 text saying: "We cannot cause traffic problems in front of his house, can we?"

David Wildstein, who was Christie's No. 2 man at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, responded: "Flights to Tel Aviv all mysteriously delayed." He appeared to be joking, although the Port Authority does run the major New York City-area airports.

"Perfect," Kelly wrote.

The exchange came six days after Kelly's previously disclosed message to Wildstein: "Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee."

The newly public exchange is part of a group of documents made public Thursday by a legislative committee looking into political retribution in Christie's administration.

Christie has maintained that he was not involved in the closure or a cover-up and had no knowledge of the scheme before it happened.

Wildstein made the documents available to the committee. Like documents previously submitted to the committee by others, some passages of messages are blacked out.

In a statement, Assemblyman John Wisniewski and Sen. Loretta Weinberg, who are leading the investigative committee, said they reviewed the full documents and agreed it was appropriate to leave some sections secret because "the material was outside of the subject matter or date range requested."

Unlike the documents released previously, there are notes indicating who sent and received more of the messages - something that clears up some of the minor mysteries of the scandal, which is also being investigated by the U.S. attorney's office.

For instance, it's now clear that it was Kelly who texted, apparently jokingly, about feeling "badly about the kids" who were stuck in the traffic jams while on their way to school. And that it was Wildstein who responded that "they are the children of Buono voters," referring to Barbara Buono, Christie's Democratic challenger in last year's gubernatorial election.

Also, it's now clear that the previously unidentified person who texted Wildstein asking, "Who does he think he is, Capt. America?" was Bill Stepien, who was the Republican governor's two-time campaign manager. The documents, however, do not clarify whom Stepien was referring to.

Christie fired Kelly last month and cut ties with Stepien after the first batch of documents provided by Wildstein were made public. By then, Wildstein had already stepped down from his job at the Port Authority.

The rabbi referred to in the one exchange was not mentioned by name, though Wildstein began the conversation by texting Kelly a photo of a man who appears to be Mendy Carlebach posing with House Speaker John Boehner.

Carlebach told The Record newspaper and the New York Times on Thursday that he had never spoken with Wildstein and had only exchanged greetings with Kelly. Carlebach, a member of the state's Homeland Security Interfaith Advisory Council and a chaplain at the 2004 and 2008 Republican National Conventions, said he did not know why the two would have been upset with him.

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Eric February 27 2014 at 5:28 PM

As a former New Jerseyite, I am very familar with the kind of assholery that Christie brought to his politics...you cannot live in New Jersey without knowing a dozen or so guys like him...but if he or his administration really used the power of his office to intimidate people who did not support him, I don't know how people could defend him.

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s Eric February 27 2014 at 5:31 PM

I agree but would prefer to think of it as douche baggery.

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runswthscisors40 February 27 2014 at 6:30 PM

Your Honor, may I object to this witch-hunt??..................

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1 reply
Eric runswthscisors40 February 27 2014 at 6:32 PM

Irony....

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fmasone February 28 2014 at 8:46 AM

all involved shoud resign and lose the pension if they did lie

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1 reply
brayhaven fmasone February 28 2014 at 9:21 AM

Yep, and so should obama, holder, clinton. et al.. Oh wait, she resigned, but still has the cash coming in..

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dstevealice February 28 2014 at 8:57 AM

Anyone who has worked in government knows that these are two "political 'hacks" drunk with power. Christie's only mistake was that he should have been more careful with who he chose to work under him. Kelly and Wildstein are perfect examples of what is wrong with our local and Federal governments. They are appointed based on political connections rather than qualifications.

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weilunion February 27 2014 at 6:39 PM

The corporate media and the corporate thug politicians will circle the wagons around Christie.

The facts are clear and circumstantial evidence is all that is needed.

Welcome to America, land of the corporate politicians

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johnrivard115 February 27 2014 at 4:53 PM

The Port of authority Is a Very Large COOKIE-JAR, For Chris and any other Governor, That's the Reason for the high cost to Commuters, America The Corrupt

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rmarch4174 February 27 2014 at 6:41 PM

no one cares anymore old news, but nice try by the bias media for hillary try and take him out early

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1 reply
koea34 rmarch4174 February 27 2014 at 6:52 PM

if hillary gets in as president , HMMM another 4 years of another Obama

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s February 27 2014 at 4:51 PM

After 911 the GW Bridge had armed guards for months. Its not too bright to
mess with the GW.

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Juno3845 February 27 2014 at 6:51 PM

I find it odd that the governor had 'no clue' what was happening while it was televised on tv about the traffic back up, etc. Did no one in the governors office not see the news? Did no one call the governor and say 'turn on the tv"? I find it amazing that all of this escaped him while there was a chopper in the air televising this. I live in S. Florida and if you buy that story, I have some swamp land to sell.

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fishhead80 February 27 2014 at 6:51 PM

Just go away Christeie. You're a grandstander egomaniac that screwed us by screwing Romney. Go away.

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1 reply
grandma1ca5nc fishhead80 February 27 2014 at 7:03 PM

Go to jail for the murder of the people who died because of the traffic jams you and/or your staff made jokes about. If your staff did it you did it because you are ultimately responsible for the staff you hire and supposedly supervise at least that is what company presidents and ceo's feel

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