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Christie Aide Joked About Targeting Rabbi With Traffic Woes

Newly uncensored text messages show that the former deputy chief of staff for Gov. Chris Christie joked with a Christie ally about causing traffic troubles in front of the home of a local rabbi.

The New York Times reports:

"'We cannot cause traffic problems in front of his house, can we?' wrote Bridget Anne Kelly, then a deputy chief of staff for Mr. Christie.

"David Wildstein, a Christie ally at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, suggested that they should think bigger.

"'Flights to Tel Aviv all mysteriously delayed,' Mr. Wildstein wrote. (Again, he appeared to be kidding.)"

The documents, which also revealed that Kelly and Wildstein manufactured a traffic jam at the George Washington Bridge, were released earlier but with heavy redactions.

The New Jersey Star Ledger reportsthat it is not clear why Kelly and Wildstein were trying to get back at Rabbi Mendy Carlebach, an Orthodox Jew and "a close Christie ally."

Rabbi Carlebach told the Timeshe was "clueless" as to the reason Kelly and Wildstein would have been angry with him.

State Assemblyman John Wisniewski, a Democrat leading the committee investigating "Bridgegate," as it's come to be known, told the paper the newly uncensored text messages break "no new ground."

"But what it does show is kind of a juvenile, cavalier attitude toward their official responsibilities and joking about the power they had to create traffic or delay flights," Wisniewski tells the paper.

Christie announced in January that he had fired Kelly for her role. Weinstein resigned from the Port Authority in December.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.
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