NEW YORK (Reuters) – An investigation commissioned by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie into the “Bridgegate” scandal on Thursday cleared the potential Republican presidential contender of wrongdoing and blamed key staffers for orchestrating the massive traffic jam.
The internal review was conducted by a law firm hired by Christie, whose top staffers have been accused of planning the traffic tie-up at the George Washington Bridge in September 2013 as political payback after the mayor of Fort Lee, New Jersey, declined to endorse Christie’s re-election.
“Our investigation found that Governor Christie did not know of the lane realignment beforehand and had no involvement in the decision to realign the lanes,” said the report by Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, which has close ties to the Christie administration.
New Jersey lawmakers and the U.S. Attorney’s office in New Jersey are undertaking parallel investigations into the traffic tie-up.
The 344-page report said the two-month internal investigation involved 250,000 documents and 70 interviews, but excluded the two main players in the scandal – Bridget Anne Kelly, the governor’s former deputy chief of staff, and Bill Stepien, Christie’s former campaign manager.
(Reporting by Victoria Cavaliere and Barbara Goldberg; editing by Gunna Dickson)