Chris Christie fires aide whose emails ordered bridge chaos

Jan 10, 2014

Bridget Anne Kelly 'terminated' by governor who insists he knew nothing about her scheming

NEW JERSEY governor Chris Christie has fired the aide who sent emails ordering the closure of lanes on the George Washington Bridge last year to damage a political opponent.

Christie told journalists he had “terminated” deputy chief of staff, Bridget Anne Kelly, who asked for the closures in a bid to damage the credibility of a New Jersey mayor who had not supported the governor’s re-election campaign. Christie insisted he had no knowledge of the plot, apologised profusely and said he felt “heartbroken and betrayed” that a staffer had lied to him.

The governor added that he had not spoken to Kelly since the emails were published in the press and says he does not know why she would have lied to him, the New York Post reports.

But who is Kelly, the woman who wrote “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee,” in an email sent on 13 August last year, three weeks before several access lanes to the bridge were closed? What kind of person would deliberately cause chaos that delayed ambulances and left school children trapped in buses?

The Post describes 41-year-old Kelly as a “typical suburban mom” who sends her four children to Catholic schools.

A woman whose children attend the same school as Kelly’s offspring told the paper: “I am just shocked that she [Kelly] could be so petty and reckless.”

The Post also revealed that Kelly’s brother, Eamon Daul, is an emergency worker who trains new ambulance officers. The paper points out that his sister’s “bridge stunt” delayed responses to 911 calls, including one to a 91-year-old woman who died before an ambulance could reach her, officials and family members have said.

The New York Times says Christie apologised for the bridge saga “the Christie way: excessively, vaingloriously, in large, vivid and personal terms”.

“He seemed to want to talk the scandal away,” the NYT says, “droning on for so long at the State House that reporters started repeating their inquiries, even asking for his response to a news story that had popped up as he was talking.”

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