NBC said Thursday night that Governor Christie was no longer being investigated by the government for a potential involvement in the illegal lane closures.
Is New Jersey Governor Chris Christie cleared of involvement with last fall’s George Washington Bridge lane closure scandal? Or are federal authorities still investigating? The answers to those questions have become muddied in the wake of an NBC reporting gaffe made by TV news anchor, Brian Williams.
According to a report from the New York Daily News, Williams was reporting on the lane closure scandal on Thursday night when he said that Governor Christie was no longer being investigated by the government for a potential involvement in the illegal lane closures. In fact, federal prosecutors are still looking at the incident, but have not yet found any link between Christie and “Bridgegate.”
The George Washington Bridge lane closures took place last fall, spanning from from Monday, September 9 through Friday, September 13. No one, including local officials, law enforcement agencies, emergency services, or the general public, had been informed of the lane closures ahead of time, and the result was a chaotic and dangerous build-up of traffic jams on the bridge.
It was speculated that Governor Christie had conspired with political appointees to create traffic issues in Fort Lee, New Jersey, where the Jersey side of the George Washington Bridge is located. Fort Lee’s Mayor, Mark Sokolich, had not endorsed Christie’s 2013 gubernatorial campaigned, and many wondered if the traffic jams were Christie’s way of getting revenge.
Since then, Christie has fiercely maintained his innocence over involvement with the lane closures, which violated both state and federal laws. Bridgegate has become the black cloud hanging over the governor’s political career, though, especially since most sources indicate that Christie is considering a campaign for the upcoming Presidential election.
As such, Williams’ on-air reporting gaffe got a lot of attention, as it had NBC News viewers thinking that Christie’s battle against the Bridgegate allegations was finally over. NBC subsequently apologized for the inaccurate reporting, with network spokesperson Erika Masonhall confirming to the Asbury Park Press that Williams had gone off script in clearing Christie’s name.