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Official claims Governor Christie knew of lane closures

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is facing a fresh accusation that he was aware of the deliberate closure of lanes on a busy bridge last September which caused a major traffic jam, NBC News reports.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has repeatedly said he knew nothing of the lane closures at the time
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has repeatedly said he knew nothing of the lane closures at the time Credit: REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

Mr Christie, who has long been seen as a possible contender for the presidency, insists he first became aware that some of his aides were involved in the closure of the lanes when it was revealed in the press last month.

But a letter from a lawyer representing David Wildstein - the Port Authority official who gave the order - speaks of evidence showing that the governor had "knowledge of the lane closures during the period when the lanes were closed".

In a statement on Friday afternoon, Mr Christie's office repeated his position that "he had absolutely no prior knowledge of the lane closures before they happened".

More: US Governor 'faces legal action' over bridge traffic jam scandal

Under fire Christie prepares to swear in for second term

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie will be sworn in for his second term today amid allegations that he misused about $2 million in funds collected for Superstorm Sandy relief.

Christie is also reeling from the 'Bridgegate' scandal, as he and several officials face a class legal action over claims they conspired to cause a traffic jam on one of the country's busiest bridges.

Chris Christie will be inaugurated for his second term as governor of New Jersey today
Chris Christie will be inaugurated for his second term as governor of New Jersey today Credit: Dennis Van Tine/ABACA USA/Empics Entertainment

The relief fund Investigations focus on a $25 million Jersey Shore marketing campaign which included a television advert featuring Christie and his family.

The promotional advert - with the tagline that New Jersey was "Stronger than the Storm" - was broadcast in the spring as Christie headed into a re-election campaign to win a second term.

Christie was lampooned by his music hero Bruce Springsteen over the New Jersey bridge scandal, who appeared on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon on NBC in the US to rework his hit Born To Run.

Read: Could a set of traffic cones halt the New Jersey Governor's White House ambitions?

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Springsteen lampoons New Jersey bridge scandal

New Jersey rock legend Bruce Springsteen has lampooned his state's governor over his role in the recent bridge scandal.

Republican Chris Christie, such a big Springsteen fan that he cried when the singer acknowledged his efforts in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, is under fire after his staff ordered the closure of a bridge to cause traffic problems in an area controlled by a political rival.

Appearing on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon on NBC in the US, Springsteen and Fallon adapted his hit Born To Run to poke fun at the scandal and Christie's subsequent press conference, which was "longer than one of [his] own damn shows."

Could a set of traffic cones halt the New Jersey Governor's White House ambitions?

Governor Chris Christie: Mistakes were clearly made

Governor Chris Christie appeared to make reference to a couple of recent scandals in his 'New Jersey State of the State' speech.

His opening words were as follows:

The last week has tested this administration.

Mistakes were clearly made ... I know our citizens deserve better, much better.

It follows allegations that staff in Governor Christie's office conspired to cause a traffic jam on the George Washington Bridge, and that funds for the victims of Superstorm Sandy were misused for a promotional campaign.

Congressman slams 'inappropriate use of relief funds'

A US Congressman has slammed Chris Christie after an investigation was launched into the New Jersey Governor's use of relief funds for the victims of the Superstorm Sandy disaster.

"It is inappropriate for taxpayer-funded dollars that are critical to our state's recovery from this natural disaster to fund commercials that could potentially benefit a political campaign," New Jersey Congressman Frank Pallone Jr., a Democrat, said in a letter requesting the investigation.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is under fresh scrutiny. Credit: Reuters

The investigation is focusing on a $25 million Jersey Shore marketing campaign which included a television advert featuring Christie and his family.

The promotional advert, with the tag line that New Jersey was "Stronger than the Storm," was broadcast in the spring as Christie headed into a re-election campaign to win a second term.

"Had Governor Christie chosen the less-expensive firm, $2.2 million in federal disaster aid could have potentially been directed elsewhere, for example, to provide 44 Sandy-impacted homeowners $50,000 grants to raise their homes," Pallone added.

Read: New Jersey Governor 'embarrassed' over bridge scandal claims

Christie facing fresh probe over Sandy relief funds use

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is under investigation after allegedly 'misusing funds' for the victims of Superstorm Sandy.

Investigators are looking into whether Christie misused around $2 million in Superstorm Sandy relief funds for a promotional campaign after a request was made from Congress, officials said.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is under investigation after allegedly 'misusing funds' for the victims of Superstorm Sandy. Credit: Reuters

Christie, who has been engulfed in a scandal centred on a set of traffic cones, is being audited by an investigator from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Sandy devastated parts of America's East Coast in October 2012 killing at least 159 people and destroying more than 650,000 homes.

Read: Could a set of traffic cones halt the New Jersey Governor's White House ambitions?

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Reports: Residents suing US Governor over traffic claims

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, his former aide and two former Port Authority officials are facing a class legal action over claims that they conspired to cause a traffic jam on one of the country's busiest bridges, according to CNN and other local media.

The report says they are being sued by residents of Bergen County who claim that getting stuck in the traffic resulted in loss of wages.

CNN cites Rosemarie Arnold, the attorney representing the six plaintiffs, as saying: "To find out that the residents and the plaintiffs in this case were pawns in a political game is just disgraceful."

Read: Could a traffic jam halt a Governor's White House hopes?

Scandal-hit US Governor hails 'productive meeting'

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has held a half-hour meeting with the mayor of Fort Lee, Mark Sokolich, after he appears to have fallen foul of a political vendetta by the Governor's staff, NBC News reports.

One of Mr Christie's senior aides was fired after revelations that she conspired with the port authority to close lanes on the George Washington Bridge, causing traffic problems in Fort Lee.

NBC News cites the Governor as saying that he had a "very good and productive meeting".

Gov. Christie: There is no justification for that behaviour

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said "there is no justification" for the behaviour of his former aide Bridget Kelly's over the bridge scandal.

The George Washington Bridge toll booths pictured in Fort Lee, New Jersey.
The George Washington Bridge toll booths pictured in Fort Lee, New Jersey. Credit: REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

Christie, a possible Republican White House contender, told a news conference, "There is no justification for ever lying to a governor or a person in authority in this Government".

Read: Could the Governor's White House ambitions could be halted by a traffic jam?

Gov. Christie 'looking at whether other staff involved'

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie speaking to press.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie speaking to press.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has said he is still looking into the possibility that other members of his staff were involved in the scandal over shutting down lanes onto the busy George Washington Bridge.

Christie said he will "take action" if it is needed.

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