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Christie Appeared With Implicated Official Amid Bridge Closings

George Washington Bridge
Heavy traffic exits the George Washington Bridge as morning commuters drive into Manhattan in New York. Photographer: Stan Honda/AFP via Getty Images

Jan. 14 (Bloomberg) -- New Jersey Governor Chris Christie appeared with the former Port Authority executive who approved politically motivated lane closings at the George Washington Bridge on the third day of massive traffic tie-ups, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The paper published a photo on its website today that it says shows Christie with David Wildstein prior to a ceremony marking the 12th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The paper said it wasn’t clear whether Christie and Wildstein, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey’s former director of interstate capital projects, spoke during the event or discussed the closings. Nor did it say where it obtained the picture.

“Governor Christie attended the September 11th ceremony as he has done every year since he took office,” Colin Reed, a spokesman for Christie, said in an e-mail to Bloomberg News. “He had numerous interactions with public officials that morning, including representatives of the Port Authority.”

The governor apologized Jan. 9 for the closing of two of three approach lanes to the bridge in Fort Lee, increasing a usually 30-minute trip to as much as four hours. He said he knew nothing about his aides’ orders to close the lanes to paralyze traffic in Fort Lee, a borough at the end of the bridge, whose Democratic mayor didn’t endorse Christie for re-election.

Christie fired Bridget Anne Kelly, a top aide who he said lied when he asked senior aides a month ago whether they knew about lane closings ordered by Wildstein.

Wildstein resigned last month, along with Bill Baroni, Christie’s top executive appointee at the authority.

The governor has said he had little to do with Wildstein.

“I have had no contact with David Wildstein in a long time, a long time, well before the election,” Christie said at a Jan. 9 news conference. “I could probably count on one hand the number of conversations I’ve had with David since he worked at the Port Authority. I did not interact with David.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Terrence Dopp in Trenton at tdopp@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stephen Merelman at smerelman@bloomberg.net

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