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Christie reiterates: No role in lane closures

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New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie speaks during a ceremony to pass official hosting duties of next year’s Super Bowl to representatives from Arizona, Saturday Feb. 1, 2014 in New York. Fellow Republicans are assessing the damage of new allegations that Gov. Christie knew about a traffic-blocking operation orchestrated by top aides. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie speaks during a ceremony to pass official hosting duties of next year’s Super Bowl to representatives from Arizona, Saturday Feb. 1, 2014 in New York. Fellow Republicans are assessing the damage of new allegations that Gov. Christie knew about a traffic-blocking operation orchestrated by top aides. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie waits for the start of a ceremony to pass official hosting duties of next year’s Super Bowl to representatives from Arizona, Saturday Feb. 1, 2014 in New York. Fellow Republicans are assessing the damage of new allegations that Gov. Christie knew about a traffic-blocking operation orchestrated by top aides. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, center, stands between Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, left, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, right, showoff souvenir football helmets after a ceremony to pass official hosting duties of next year’s Super Bowl to Arizona, Saturday Feb. 1, 2014 in New York. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, center, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, right, display different reactions as Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, left, speaks during a ceremony to pass official hosting duties of next year’s Super Bowl to Arizona, Saturday Feb. 1, 2014 in New York. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

In this Jan. 9, 2014 file photo, David Wildstein speaks during a hearing at the Statehouse in Trenton. According to a letter released Friday, Jan. 31, 2013 by a lawyer for the former Christie loyalist who ordered lane closures near the George Washington Bridge in September 2013, attorney Alan Zegas said his client “contests the accuracy of various statements that the governor made about him and he can prove the inaccuracy of some.” Wildstein was forced to resign from his position at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey amid a scandal that he allegedly ordered the lane closures as retribution for Ft. Lee’s mayor not supporting Christie in his re-election bid. The lane closures caused massive congestion in the city from Sept. 9 to Sept 13, 2013. (AP Photo/Mel Evans, File)

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TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Gov. Chris Christie said Monday he may have heard about congestion on the George Washington Bridge last fall but it didn’t register as anything more than regular traffic jams because he wasn’t aware his aides had ordered lanes blocked, apparently for political retribution.

Christie also acknowledged during an hour-long radio call-in program that his office has been subpoenaed by federal law enforcement officials conducting a criminal investigation into the bridge scandal. Christie said his office would fully comply with the document request.

The Republican governor and possible 2016 presidential candidate fielded questions for the first time in three weeks about a scandal that has engulfed his administration and threatened to upend any political ambitions.

Twenty people and organizations close to Christie have also been subpoenaed in a parallel state legislative investigation of the lane closures.

Christie’s campaign on Monday sought to exceed New Jersey’s election spending cap to pay for lawyers dealing with subpoenas stemming from the scandal.

Christie, 51, reiterated during the radio show that he did not know about the planning or execution of the lane closings near the bridge in Fort Lee. He disputed the account of a former loyalist, who said Friday there was evidence the governor knew about the closings while they were happening over four days in September, which is earlier than Christie has acknowledged.

Christie said an email from Patrick Foye, the executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the agency that runs the bridge, made him realize the traffic gridlock may not have been routine. That email was forwarded to a top Christie aide on Sept. 13, the day Foye ordered the lanes reopened.

“I know prior to (the Foye email) there were press accounts about traffic issues up there, and if I read that or someone said something … it wouldn’t have been meaningful to me because I didn’t know there was any problem up there because I didn’t know we had actually closed lanes up there before that,” Christie said on TownSquare Media’s “Ask the Governor” show.

“Nobody has said I knew about this before it happened, and I think that’s the most important question,” he said.

Christie has been asked before when he learned of the lane closures, which has cost five people close to the governor their jobs. During a Dec. 13 news conference, he said, “It was certainly well after the whole thing was over before I heard about it.”

Monday was the first time Christie took questions since David Wildstein, Christie’s No. 2 man at the Port Authority before he resigned amid the scandal, contradicted the governor’s accounting of the lane closings. Christie referred to the dispute over what he knew when as “a game of gotcha.”

Meanwhile, a former Christie aide who set the lane closings in motion with an email to Wildstein has invoked her right not to incriminate herself and is refusing to cooperate with a subpoena from a legislative committee looking into the scandal.

The lawyer for former Deputy Chief of Staff Bridget Kelly sent a letter Monday to the committee’s lawyer saying she would not comply because the information demanded “directly overlaps with a parallel federal grand jury investigation.”

Christie fired Kelly last month after learning of her email saying, “time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee” less than a month before the lane closures.

Former Christie campaign manager Bill Stepien made a similar argument last week and is also not complying with a subpoena.

The special legislative investigative committee said Monday it had begun receiving

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