New Jersey Governor Chris Christie issued a statement late Wednesday in response to the reports that a top staffer from his office and others were involved in controversial NJ lane closures at the George Washington Bridge.

In his statement Wednesday, Christie said he was misled by a member of his staff and called the conduct “completely inappropriate and unsanctioned.”

From News 12 New Jersey:

“What I’ve seen today for the first time is unacceptable. 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.”

 

If you missed the background on the story, you can read more at The Record/NorthJersey.com. Here’s a quick summary from the site:

Private messages between Governor’s[sic] Christie’s deputy chief of staff and two of his top executives at the Port Authority reveal a vindictive effort to create “traffic problems in Fort Lee” by shutting lanes to the George Washington Bridge and apparent pleasure at the resulting gridlock.

The messages are replete with references and insults to Fort Lee’s mayor — who had failed to endorse Christie for re-election — and they chronicle how he tried to reach Port Authority officials in a vain effort to eliminate the paralyzing gridlock that overwhelmed his town of 35,000, which sits in the shadow of the world’s busiest bridge.

The documents obtained by The Record raise serious doubts about months of claims by the Christie administration that the September closures of local access lanes to the George Washington Bridge were part of a traffic study initiated solely by the Port Authority. Instead, they show that one of the governor’s top aides was deeply involved in the decision to choke off the borough’s access to the bridge, and they provide the strongest indication yet that it was part of a politically-motivated vendetta—a notion that Christie has publicly denied.

(See the documents here or download in PDF).

The lanes were closed off for several days without prior notice, causing the traffic backups until the closures were reversed by Port Authority officials on the NY side.  The issue had become a source of controversy since.

In December, David Wildstein, one of the other officials mentioned in the documents published Wednesday, resigned over the matter, saying it had become a “distraction.” A second Port Authority official also resigned in December.  Christie conceded at the time that the lane closures had been mishandled but dismissed the notion that the incident was politically motivated.

Twitchy has some comments on the mainstream media perspective.

(Featured image credit: CBS New York video)