Since the beginning of the Chris Christie bridge scandal, and especially since the release of Christie staffer emails on Wednesday, there’s been a major unanswered question: How would closing the toll lanes at the George Washington Bridge possibly harm Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich, the alleged target of the plot?
We’ve raised it here, Jon Stewart brought it up on Wednesday and Rachel Maddow theorized about it Thursday night. But with the release of a major tranche of documents from the New Jersey legislature, we might have an answer.
Via Business Insider, it turns out that Sokolich was told back on September 12 that officers from the Port Authority Police Department (PAPD) were telling commuters that Sokolich himself was responsible for the lane closures. The revelation was contained within an email Sokolich sent to the former Port Authority Deputy Executive Director Bill Baroni. Baroni resigned last month.
If this was indeed the case, the conspiracy included giving marching orders to PAPD officers who were instrumental in dropping the blame for the traffic jam in Sokolich’s lap. So not only did Wildstein and the other conspirators endanger public safety with a week-long, nightmarish traffic jam, but they chose to involve police officers as mouthpieces to spread their ill-conceived criminal enterprise.
It’s unclear whether the PAPD was an unknowing pawn or if it was clued in about what was going on. I’d like to believe the former: the unknowing pawn angle. Either way, I’m sure we’ll find out for sure soon enough.
In the bigger picture, the hole keeps getting deeper for Chris Christie who, if he was behind the plot or just knew about it, will not only suffer an end to his political career but also a serious legal battle, both civil and criminal.