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February 2, 2014

Super Bowl no respite for scandal around Christie

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — The Super Bowl being played in New Jersey Sunday is not providing a respite from scandal for Gov. Chris Christie.

Some Republicans say allegations from a former loyalist that Christie knew about a politically motivated lane closure as it happened last year could end up damaging his 2016 presidential prospects. Meanwhile, Christie's political team is going on the offensive against the accuser.

The governor's political team sent an email Saturday to donors, along with columnists and pundits who might be in a position to defend Christie, bashing the man Christie put in a top post at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the accusations the man's lawyer made in a letter Friday.

The email says the former Port Authority official, David Wildstein, "will do and say anything to save David Wildstein."

Christie's team denies that Christie knew about the traffic jam or its political motive until after it was over and bashes Wildstein, a former mayor who later became an anonymous political blogger.

Much of the letter quoted previous newspaper articles that took critical looks at Wildstein, who resigned in December from the $150,000-per-year job at the Port Authority that he got with Christie's blessing. The Christie email notes that a 2012 article in The Record of Bergen County says Wildstein "was a very contentious person."

But the email does not mention other comments about Wildstein in that same story, including from Christie spokesman Michael Drewniak: "He is there in that job because he is well suited to the task of playing a role in reforming the Port Authority in accordance with the governor's goals," Drewniak said. "If he's not liked for that role, and if he's accused of being zealous in that regard, then we plead guilty."

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