JERSEY CITY, New Jersey–An attorney representing former Governor Chris Christie deputy chief of staff Bridget Kelly has condemned the results of a report commissioned by the governor that implicates Kelly in the George Washington Bridge scandal as containing “inappropriate sexist remarks” regarding her romantic history.
Attorney Michael Critchley issued a statement to the Star-Ledger late Friday afternoon responding to the several-hundred-page report on the scandal now known as Bridgegate compiled by attorneys working for the Governor’s office. He noted in the statement that the report was missing “crucial” facts that only Kelly could provide, and that, given that any evidence Kelly had to exonerate herself could potentially implicate the governor further, the attack on her character was “not surprising.” The statement, pithy though not specific, also accused the report of using Kelly’s gender to imply that she was more likely to have committed improprieties on the job than others involved in the “traffic study.”
“The report’s venomous, gratuitous, and inappropriate sexist remarks concerning Ms. Kelly have no place in what is alleged to be a professional and independent report,” Critchley remarked in the statement. He added that Kelly is “not a liar” and “is a single mother of four children who was deeply devoted and committed to her job at the Office of the Governor.”
Critics have accused the report, released this week, of using the personal relationships Kelly engaged in to impugn her character and imply a motive for causing havoc in the suburban town of Fort Lee. The report revealed publicly for the first time that Kelly had dated Bill Stepien, Christie’s former campaign manager, for a short time, and the relationship had ended before Port Authority official David Wildstein closed down lanes on the bridge in September. The report claims that Stepien, who was fired on the same day as Kelly in January, chose to end the relationship and the two rarely spoke after the parting.
That the two appeared not to be on speaking terms would diminish the possibility that Kelly would involve Stepien in the bridge incident given its unethical nature. The report thus concluded that Kelly was the only person in the Governor’s office who knew of the incident. Kelly had directly implicated herself in emails the New Jersey Legislature released in January in which she wrote to Wildstein, “time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee.“
On Friday, Governor Christie held his first press conference since that email became public to announce radical reforms which he would attempt to enact with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. He also announced that Port Authority Chairman David Samson, implicated in claims by Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer that the Christie administration used Hurricane Sandy relief funds to extort her into approving a redevelopment project, had tendered his resignation effective immediately. Exhibiting a zest for sparring with reporters that had diminished in the months since the scandal rose to prominence, Christie insisted that he had faith in the results of the report and insisted he was not involved in shutting down the bridge lanes.