Christie faces action from people caught in traffic

Chris Christie. Photo / AP
Chris Christie. Photo / AP

New Jersey governor Chris Christie is facing legal action over huge traffic jams created when his staff orchestrated the closure of a bridge for political revenge.

Six motorists who were stuck in traffic during the closures have filed a class-action lawsuit against the Christie administration, in what is expected to be the first of several legal challenges.

Their lawyer, Rosemarie Arnold, said they missed work because of a "reprehensible, outrageous situation caused by political motivation".

However, Vilma Oleri, whose 91-year-old mother died after her ambulance was caught in the first day of the traffic jam, said she did not believe the traffic delays were the cause and would not take any legal action as it was "her time".

The Republican governor was also bracing himself for the release of almost 1,000 new documents on the gridlock scandal, which has damaged his presidential ambitions.

A panel of state legislators was due to publish 907 pages obtained under subpoena power from one of Christie's top transport officials, who inflicted gridlock on the town of a political foe.

Emails published this week showed the official, David Wildstein, agreed to create "traffic problems" in the town of Fort Lee under orders from Bridget Kelly, Christie's deputy chief of staff.

They brought days of jams to Fort Lee in mid-September by engineering the needless closure of lanes to the George Washington Bridge, which connects New Jersey with New York.

The closures appeared to be an act of retribution for the refusal of Fort Lee's mayor, Mark Sokolich, to join dozens of fellow state Democrats in endorsing Christie's re-election as governor last November.

Christie denied knowledge of the orders, and yesterday Sokolich said he would take him at his word.

"I'm glad he came. I take him for his word, which is (that) he had nothing to do with it," Sokolich said after Christie's visit to the town to offer his apologies.

- Daily Telegraph UK

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