A redacted transcript of a damning set of text messages between former staffers working for Governor Chris Christie was unsealed on Wednesday. In one exchange, from December 13, 2013, the pair discuss a press conference the governor was giving about the still-developing George Washington Bridge lane closing scandal. “Are you listening?” Christina Renna, who worked in part of the governor’s office focused on his re-election campaign, wrote. “He just flat out lied about senior staff and [campaign manager Bill] Stepien not being involved.”
At the press conference, Christie said he had “no reason to believe” that anyone on senior staff had anything to do with the lane closures. “I’ve made it very clear to everyone on my senior staff that if they had any knowledge about this that they need to come forward and tell me about it and they’ve all assured me that they don’t,” he told reporters.
“Gov is doing fine,” Pete Sheridan, another Christie aide, replied. “Holding his own up there.”
“Yes,” Renna wrote. “But he lied. And if emails are found with the subpoena or ccfg emails are uncovered in discovery if it comes to that it could be bad,” using an acronym for Chris Christie for Governor. According to NJ.com, the filings show that Renna deleted the texts after the New Jersey state legislature began issuing subpoenas.
He was not questioned about the breaking news on Bridgegate and instead fielded questions about topics like “nip slips” during the Olympic beach volleyball tournament.
Approached by the Associated Press after the appearance, Christie said: “It’s ridiculous. It’s nothing new...There’s nothing new to talk about.” He also said the text alleging he lied was sent by Renna when she was not under oath.
In 2014, Renna was under oath when she went before a state legislative committee and denied knowledge of Bridgegate. She did not reveal this text exchange with Sheridan, nor did she allege that Christie was lying at the press conference.
The filings also include redacted emails between Stepien and David Wildstein, a friend of Christie’s from high school who he appointed to a vaguely-titled post at the Port Authority, strategizing over how to acquire the endorsement of Jersey City mayor Steven Fulop. (Wildstein has pleaded guilty.)
“Built a few emergency exits into deal and can screw him in less than an hour,” Wildstein wrote to the campaign manager, an assurance that would seem to support federal prosecutors’ argument that Christie’s operatives used state resources to punish mayors for a variety of offenses. In one email, Wildstein described Fulop as “quite the snake.”