A group of plaintiffs, who as of this moment have not been fully identified, have filed a class-action lawsuit against the governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie, an ex-aide and the Port Authority. The lawsuit is connection to the monumental bridge scandal which alleges that Christie ordered the closing of two lanes on the George Washington Bridge in retaliation against the Mayor of Fort Lee, who did not support Christie’s reelection campaign.
The closure caused severe traffic on the bridge and in Fort Lee, NJ. Christie has denied involvement and has claimed that he was “misled” by former aide Bridget Anne Kelly. Emails and text messages have surfaced which show that Kelly told ex-officer David Wildstein at the Port Authority that Fort Lee should receive some heavy traffic; Wildstein answered “got it.”
The suit seeks economic damages for at least six New Jersey residents. The lane closures caused horrible gridlock on the George Washington Bridge for four days. This lawsuit was actually being worked on way back in September but at that time the plaintiff’s did not posses the appropriate amount of evidence to go ahead with the lawsuit.
“At the time, I said, ‘You know you have to be able to prove it. You can’t have these unsubstantial allegations.’ Now I think we have what we need,” Rosemary Arnold, the attorney who filed this suit said on Thursday. “This is not a situation that complies with the 14th Amendment.
Arnold also told a story about how the lane closures had negatively affected one of her clients because the client is susceptible to panic attacks. She said that while her client was stuck in traffic she started to have a panic attack because she and her husband were “trapped like rats.”
Arnold added that her client had to get out of the car and threw up, wanting only to get home but was unable to even walk because traffic was that horrible that day on the bridge.
“This was a deliberate attempt.” Arnold said. “This was the direct result of the political motivated closure.”
The lawsuit comes on the heals of a 2,000 page long court document compiled by the New Jersey State Assembly which blames Port Authority officials, who Christie appointed, in a grand cover up over the lane closures.
Christie has denied any involvement in this incident, but did earlier in the process say that this incident was not a big deal.
The suit is being filed against Christie, his former aide Bridget Anne Kelly, the State of New Jersey, the Port Authority and Christie’s two Port Authority appointees Bill Baroni and David Wildstein. Christie fired Kelly and the two appointees resigned in December during the speculation. Now the fate of the presidential hopeful waits to be revealed.
This scandal already seems likely to severely cripple Christie’s chances of running for president in 2016. If he is found guilty of the class action lawsuit which holds him as accountable for the September bridge scandal things will only get worse for the Republican governor.
By Nick Manai