Accessibility/Mobile Features
Skip Navigation
Skip to Content
Editorial News
Classified Sites

The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Christie's long-time spokesman to testify in New Jersey traffic jam case

FILE - In this Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2007, file photo, Michael Drewniak, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's office, speaks to reporters outside the U.S. District courthouse in Newark, N.J. Drewniak, Gov. Chris Christie's long-time press secretary, is set to tell a New Jersey legislative committee what he knew about a political retribution plot carried out by former aides to the governor. Drewniak is the only witness scheduled to testify, Tuesday, May 13, 2014. Two others will appear next month as the committee attempts to determine who ordered the approach lanes of the George Washington Bridge to be blocked without notice last September, and why the mayor whose town is at the base of the heavily traveled span was targeted for payback. (AP Photo/Mike Derer, File)

Enlarge Image

FILE - In this Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2007, file photo, Michael Drewniak, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's office, speaks to reporters outside the U.S. District courthouse in Newark, N.J. Drewniak, Gov. Chris Christie's long-time press secretary, is set to tell a New Jersey legislative committee what he knew about a political retribution plot carried out by former aides to the governor. Drewniak is the only witness scheduled to testify, Tuesday, May 13, 2014. Two others will appear next month as the committee attempts to determine who ordered the approach lanes of the George Washington Bridge to be blocked without notice last September, and why the mayor whose town is at the base of the heavily traveled span was targeted for payback. (AP Photo/Mike Derer, File)

TRENTON, N.J. - Gov. Chris Christie's long-time press secretary is set to tell a New Jersey legislative committee what he knew about a political retribution plot carried out by former aides to the governor.

Michael Drewniak is the only witness scheduled to testify Tuesday. Two others will appear next month as the committee attempts to determine who ordered the approach lanes of the George Washington Bridge to be blocked without notice last September, and why the mayor whose town is at the base of the heavily travelled span was targeted for payback.

"The hearing is going to be an effort to continue to fill in the blanks on the record that we have so far," said Assemblyman John Wisniewski, who co-chairs the legislative panel. "The picture that has been provided to us by emails and other documents leaves lots of questions unanswered as to why certain actions were taken and, just as importantly, why certain actions weren't taken."

The plot carried out while Christie was running for re-election has become a major distraction as the Republican contemplates a 2016 presidential run. A federal criminal investigation is under way in addition to the legislative inquiry.

Drewniak has worked for Christie for 14 years, starting when Christie was New Jersey's top federal prosecutor. Christie recruited Drewniak and many assistant prosecutors after winning the 2009 gubernatorial election.

Drewniak had a professional and social relationship David Wildstein, a key figure in the case. The Christie administration approved the creation of a $150,000 job for Wildstein at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the agency that operates the bridge. But Wildstein was forced to resign the post in January, after the extent of his involvement in the lane closings became known.

It was Wildstein who replied, "got it," after Christie aide Bridget Kelly sent him an email saying, "time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee."

Drewniak had dinner with Wildstein the evening before he resigned and helped draft the administration's response to the resignation. Afterward, Wildstein thanked Drewniak for his advice.

Drewniak was interviewed three times by lawyers hired by Christie to review the lane closings. Their report found that Kelly and Wildstein acted alone in ordering the lanes closed for an unknown political vendetta.

Drewniak also was grilled for two hours by the Christie administration in January, after which the governor decided not to fire him.

The legislative panel heard from witness Christina Renna last week. Renna, who worked for Kelly while the lanes were blocked, described her former boss as erratic and overwhelmed, but said she would not have decided to cause traffic jams without orders to do so.

  • Rate this Rate This Star Icon
  • This article has not yet been rated.
  • We want you to tell us what you think of our articles. If the story moves you, compels you to act or tells you something you didn’t know, mark it high. If you thought it was well written, do the same. If it doesn’t meet your standards, mark it accordingly.

    You can also register and/or login to the site and join the conversation by leaving a comment.

    Rate it yourself by rolling over the stars and clicking when you reach your desired rating. We want you to tell us what you think of our articles. If the story moves you, compels you to act or tells you something you didn’t know, mark it high.

Sort by: Newest to Oldest | Oldest to Newest | Most Popular 0 Commentscomment icon

You can comment on most stories on brandonsun.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is register and/or login and you can join the conversation and give your feedback.

There are no comments at the moment. Be the first to post a comment below.

Post Your Commentcomment icon

Comment
  • You have characters left

The Brandon Sun does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. Comments are moderated before publication. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

Brandon Sun Business Directory
Sudden Surge: Flood of 2014
Opportunity Magazine — The Bakken
Why Not Minot?
Welcome to Winnipeg

Social Media