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February 1, 2014

Lawyer: Evidence contradicts Christie about road closures

TRENTON, N.J. — Gov. Chris Christie made inaccurate statements during a news conference about the lane closures near the George Washington Bridge, according to a letter released Friday by a lawyer for a former Christie loyalist who ordered the closures and resigned amid the ensuing scandal that has engulfed the New Jersey governor’s administration.

In the letter, David Wildstein’s lawyer said his client “contests the accuracy of various statements that the governor made about him and he can prove the inaccuracy of some.”

Attorney Alan Zegas’ letter also said evidence exists suggesting the governor knew about the closures as they happened in September. The letter does not say what the evidence is and Zegas did not return calls to The Associated Press.

The Republican governor’s office said the letter’s key allegation — that Christie knew about the closures as they happened — does not contradict the governor’s statements.

“He had absolutely no prior knowledge of the lane closures before they happened and whatever Mr. Wildstein’s motivations were for closing them to begin with,” Christie’s office said in a statement. “As he said in his Jan. 9 press conference, had no indication that this was anything other than a traffic study until he read otherwise the morning of Jan. 8.”

At the nearly two-hour news conference on Jan. 9, Christie gave responses open to interpretation about when he first learned about the closings while saying flatly he knew nothing about an apparently political motive until months later.

When asked if he understood why people would have a hard time believing “you didn’t know about this thing,” he responded:

“I don’t know what else to say except to tell them that I had no knowledge of this — of the planning, the execution or anything about it — and that I first found out about it after it was over.”

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