New documents shed light on NJ scandal

Partially unredacted documents released Thursday reveal further details about the scheme to close lanes on the George Washington Bridge, which has embroiled New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) and his allies in an ongoing scandal.

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The new details clarify exactly which of the actors engaged in the scheme sent some of the more damning texts, and also reveal that former Port Authority official David Wildstein exchanged texts with Christie’s former deputy chief of staff, Bridget Anne Kelly, about causing traffic delays for a prominent New Jersey rabbi.

But they don’t offer any further connection between Christie and the situation, which, since drawing national attention, has hurt his standing in the Republican Party and his presidential prospects.

The texts, sent on Aug. 19, six days after Kelly told Wildstein in an email it was “time for some traffic problems in Ft. Lee,” joke about Orthodox Rabbi Mendy Carlebach, a Port Authority police chaplain and a close Christie ally.

Wildstein sent a picture to Kelly of Carlebach with Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), to which she replies, “I think this qualifies as stalking.”

Wildstein later texts Kelly that “he has officially pissed me off,” and she responds, “clearly.”

“We cannot cause traffic problems in front of his house, can we?” Kelly asks.

“Flights to Tel Aviv all mysteriously delayed,” Wildstein adds, and Kelly replies: “Perfect.”

It’s unclear what caused the two to joke about causing delays for Carlebach, but he told the Bergen Record that he had never spoken to Wildstein and had only passing contact with Kelly.

“I have totally no idea,” he said when asked why the two may have texted about him. “I don’t understand it. … None of it makes any sense.”

The newly unredacted documents also reveal that Lt. Chip Michaels, a Port Authority police officer and childhood friend of Christie's, was texting reports on the traffic delays to Wildstein throughout the closures and drove Wildstein to observe the traffic on Sept. 9, the first day of the four days of closures.

“Local ft lee traffic disaster,” Michaels wrote to Wildstein at 8:39 p.m. on Sept. 10.