At his press conference today Gov. Christie stated that before he went public with his initial denials around 4 weeks ago that his staff had nothing to do with creating a massive 4 day traffic jam in Ft. Lee, he asked two people to "interview each member of his senior staff" about any involvement in creating the traffic jam. Those two people were his Chief of Staff Kevin O-Dowd and his Chief Legal Counsel Charlie McKenna. They reported back to him that nobody on his senior staff had any information about the traffic jam.
But it turns out there's a document already released that show's that Charlie McKenna was almost certainly directly involved the in the scandal from the beginning.
Take a look at page 20 from the released documents. It involves a list of text messages sent back and forth between Bill Baroni and David Wildstein on November 25, 2013. The gist of the messages is that Baroni feels like he's not getting enough credit for his role in shutting down the local access lanes. Here is an excerpt:
[11/25/13 11:58 AM] David Wildstein: You did great
[11/25/13 11:59 AM] Bill Baroni (6094687069): Trenton feedback
[11/25/13 11:59 AM] Bill Baroni (6094687069): ?
[11/25/13 11:59 AM] David Wildstein: Good
[11/25/13 11:59 AM] Bill Baroni (6094687069): Just good? Shit
[11/25/13 12:00 PM] David Wildstein: No I have only texted brudget and Nicole they were VERY happy
[11/25/13 12:00 PM] Bill Baroni (6094687069): Ok
[11/25/13 12:00 PM] David Wildstein: Both said you are doing great
[11/25/13 12:06 PM] David Wildstein: Charlie said you did GREAT
Notice the last line. "Charlie said you did GREAT."
Who is Charlie? The only senior staff member with that name is Charles McKenna, Gov. Christie's Chief Legal Counsel (they go all the way back together to the US Attorney's office). The same "Charlie" McKenna who Christie stated today was one of the two people who interrogated his staff and assured him nobody was involved.
Except, of course, there is real evidence showing that "Charlie" was well aware of this scandal as far back as Nov. 25, 2013 and likely much earlier.
It's too bad the press is sleeping on this potential smoking gun. If this goes all the way to Christie's longtime friend and Chief Legal Counsel it's nearly impossible to believe that Christie had no knowledge of his staff's involvement until yesterday morning.
Fri Jan 10, 2014 at 1:58 PM PT: Before I posted this I e-mailed a reporter at Mother Jones and they ran a nice story on this today. Here's the link: