Bridgegate: Full Timeline of Chris Christie Scandal That Led to Woman’s Death
What seemed like an innocuous story surrounding Chris Christie’s political retribution and bullying tendencies has become a full blown scandal after emails showed that Christie’s top aide ordered lane closures on the nation’s busiest bridge which led to the death of a 91-year-old woman who died while waiting for an ambulance stuck in traffic.
In case you are just tuning into the story, here’s a quick breakdown of “Bridgegate”
- First, in August, Christie becomes upset that Democratic Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich declined to endorse his reelection bid.
- On August 13, Anne Kelly, one of Christie’s top aides sent an email to David Wildstein, a Christie appointee to the Port Authority, saying “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee.” To that, Wildstein replied “Got it.”
- On September 6, Wildstein ordered the George Washington Bridge general manager to close lanes on the nation’s busiest bridge which began on September 9.
- On September 10, Sokolich sent a text to Christie-appointed Port Authority executive Bill Baroni expressing concern about “kids getting to school” which Baroni forwarded to Wildstein. Wildstein replied “Is it wrong that I’m smiling?”
- On September 13, Sokolich spoke to media saying “I’ve asked the Port for an explanation, but they haven’t responded. I thought we had a good relationship. Now I’m beginning to wonder if there’s something I did wrong. Am I being sent some sort of message?”
- After a couple of months, New Jersey lawmakers held hearings on the lane closures. Baroni told the state assembly that “local mayors and transportation officials weren’t notified about the lane closure plan due to ‘communication failure’.”
- On December 2, Christie joked about allegations that he had anything to do with the lane closures saying “I worked the cones, actually. Unbeknownst to everybody I was actually the guy out there, in overalls and a hat. You really are not serious with that question.”
- Despite joking about the situation, Wildstein announced his resignation on December 6 and Baroni announced his resignation on December 13.
- On December 19, just a couple of weeks before these subpoenaed documents were released, Christie relented against reporters once again, saying “”I have a lot of things to do. … I know you guys are obsessed with this. I’m not, I’m really not. It’s just — it’s not that big a deal just because press runs around and writes about it both here and nationally. I know why that is and so do you. Let’s not pretend that it’s because of the gravity of the issue. It’s because I am a national figure and anything like this will be written about a lot now. So, let’s not pretend.”
As it turns out, political retribution can have deadly consequences as in the case of the woman who waited hours for an ambulance to arrive. According to Mother Jones, the lane closures also slowed down the search for a missing 4-year-old girl.
(Image courtesy of Gage Skidmore)