New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s longstanding claims that he had nothing to do with the controversial closure of bridge lanes a year ago appear to have been buoyed by a new report saying no evidence of a Christie connection has turned up.
NBC affiliate Channel 4 in New York quoted unnamed federal officials saying that after nine months of a federal investigation, they have found no evidence the Republican governor had any knowledge of, or directed, the lane closures on the George Washington Bridge in September of last year.
Christie, addressing the report on his “Ask the Governor” show on NJ 101.5 FM, said he wasn’t surprised by the report, because as he has said before, he had nothing to do with the closures, no matter what his political rivals say.
“Obviously we will wait to hear what whatever the authorities have to say, but this report comes as no shock to me,” said Christie, who is still thought to be mulling a 2016 presidential run.
Christie went on to say an internal report released last year exonerating the governor was “pretty much excoriated at the time” as being a whitewash -- but now “appears to be true.”
Justice Department officials would not confirm the latest report when reached by Fox News.
“The investigation is not over,” said Rebekah Carmichael, of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New Jersey, echoing what other federal officials stressed in the story.
According to the report, the investigation is ongoing and no final judgment has been made.
The now-infamous closures tied up rush hour traffic and led to massive gridlock on New Jersey streets from Monday, Sept. 9, through Friday, Sept. 13. Afterward, Christie’s deputy chief of staff Bridget Anne Kelly and election campaign manager Bill Stepien resigned after emails were published indicating they might have orchestrated the closures for political retribution.
Other state and Christie staff have also resigned since the “Bridge-gate” story broke in December.
While the motivations remain unclear, some critics suggest the tie-ups were designed to make trouble for Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich for not endorsing Christie’s 2013 gubernatorial campaign.
Christie has repeatedly denied any scheme went any further up the food chain, but the closures are currently under investigation by the U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey, the New Jersey State Legislature and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.