"Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee."
That message, sent in an email from an aide to Gov. Chris Christie, set off a whirlwind of outrage last spring.
Then-Christie aide Bridget Anne Kelly sent that message to David Wildstein, then an official at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, before shutting down traffic lanes in Fort Lee, N.J., at the George Washington Bridge. The closures were supposedly an act of political retribution against the town's Democratic mayor.
But a new, 136-page report commissioned by New Jersey state lawmakers, leaked to news outlets on Thursday night, found no conclusive evidence that Christie knew about the lane closures in advance.
However, it did determine that the two aides who orchestrated the lane closures acted with "perceived impunity" and that Christie's office responded to the closures "very slowly and passively."
In February, Wildstein contended that Christie did know about the planned traffic jam. "Evidence exists ... tying Mr. Christie to having knowledge of the lane closures, during the period when the lanes were closed, contrary to what the governor stated publicly in a two-hour press conference," Wildstein's lawyer said at the time.
"The committee has finally acknowledged what we reported nine months ago—namely, that there is not a shred of evidence Governor Christie knew anything about the GWB lane realignment beforehand or that any current member of his staff was involved in that decision," Christie's lawyer, Randy Mastro, said in a statement. "Thus, the committee's work has simply corroborated our comprehensive investigation. And with this inquiry behind it, the governor and his office can now focus on doing what they do best—serving the public interest."
This post will be updated with new information.