Christie lied. An old lady died.

Yes, there was a heart attack victim whose trip to the hospital was delayed by Chris Christie’s gridlock. She didn’t make it.

Turns out my earlier plea for someone to invest some shoe leather into finding people who were seriously damaged by Conegate has been answered.

Emergency responders were delayed in attending to four medical situations – including one in which a 91-year-old woman lay unconscious – due to traffic gridlock caused by unannounced closures of access lanes to the George Washington Bridge, according to the head of the borough’s EMS department. The woman later died, borough records show.

No, of course we can’t be sure she would have survived had she received prompt attention. But now that we know that the gridlock that caused the delay was deliberately caused as an act of political retribution, it seems to me that criminal charges would be fully justified, starting with reckless endangerment. (How is slowing emergency response time different from shooting a gun in the air? In each case, there’s a reckless risk that someone will be hurt or killed.)

And of course once the criminal charges start coming in, one of Christie’s cronies is going to finger him. He wasn’t stupid enough to send any emails, but they weren’t stupid enough to do this without his implicit approval.

As for Christie for President 2016, the technical term is “toast.”


Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact:

27 thoughts on “Christie lied. An old lady died.”

      1. Really? You mean to say his ego didn’t really block the bridge?

        Well, color me embarrassed! 😉 <— clue!

    1. Your smiley would appear to indicate you’re in on the joke, but for anyone who isn’t: Borowitz is a satirist, though I rarely find him especially successful in his art.

  1. Whether Christie had any knowledge or not, he’ll still be stuck with this, at least in the Northeast. Everyone caught in traffic in New Jersey in the foreseeable future will be asking themselves “wonder what my mayor did to piss off Chris Christie”.

    1. I was only in Jersey for a couple of days, but I got the impression people there are stuck in traffic pretty much perpetually.

      1. There’s a reason you can cross the George Washington Bridge into New Jersey for free but have to pay to get out.

        1. When I lived in NYC we used to joke that the fees should be dropped, but you have to take a bag of trash with you. Don’t care what you do with it, just take a bag of trash.

          Terrible policy, of course. But it was funny.

  2. I’m not sure that Mark was being very reality-based with his sugar-plum visions of criminal charges. The NJ AG is a bit more structurally independent than the US AG (she can’t be fired during the term of her appointing Governor), but that is all the more reason for appointing a political trusty to the job. I can’t think offhand of any federal criminal charges that might stick.

    On the other hand, if the Democrats in the NJ legislature had any balls, they might consider impeachment of the hirelings, if not Christie. The penalty is real for a Jersey pol–they’re off the payroll for life. In Jersey, you can impeach somebody for up to two years after they have left office.

    1. = = = I can’t think offhand of any federal criminal charges that might stick. = = =

      The bridge involved is part of the Interstate Highway System, directly connects two states, crosses a navigable waterway, and was certainly built and maintained with Federal funds. If using (abusing) that system for direct personal political gain doesn’t violate 237 federal laws I’d be very surprised. Starting with, what was the source of the funds for the paychecks of the workers ordered to place the traffic cones? Co-mingled federal funds?


    2. Yes, a favorite prosecutor’s game is to open the Gospels to a random page and find max charges against Christ. I’m sure that there’s something in the statute books for Christie. But President Spock? And AG “too big to prosecute” Holder? Even Bobby Kennedy wouldn’t have prosecuted this one, although he might ask JEdgar to disclose some naked pix of Christie.

  3. In addition to criminal charges, I can see the family filing a civil lawsuit over this.

    1. … It says wild stein will be testifying in a much-awaited hearing tomorrow on the matter, among other interesting tidbits.

      1. … And the best reader comment I saw noted, “Imagine what these people would do if they had access to drones and NSA records.”

  4. What makes charges more likely, imo, is that there is no honor among thieves. Christie certainly inspires the kind of loyalty that fear can command, but I doubt it’s the kind that makes any of his confederates want to take a fall for him.

    1. I think it very much depends on the potential cooperator’s understanding of the situation. I’m sure someone from the family has spoken to all the potential cooperators and told them that it will blow over soon and, worst case, you go away for a couple of years but don’t worry because Christie appreciates your loyalty and won’t forget it. While you’re inside, your family will be take care of and when you get out you’ll sit at Christie’s right hand.

      Balanced against that will be the potential cooperator’s assessment of the seriousness of the investigation. If Main Justice sends Elliot Ness, that’s one thing. But if the investigation is spearheaded by a political hack or careerist who will be happy to take a couple of minor scalps without riling any of the big boys then nobody’s going to flip on Christie.

      1. That sounds dubious to me. You have to assume that Christie will be in position to take care of you. That’s a long shot if you know that you or someone else with a different assessment can easily pin the rap on him.

  5. And of course once the criminal charges start coming in, one of Christie’s cronies is going to finger him. He wasn’t stupid enough to send any emails, but they weren’t stupid enough to do this without his implicit approval.

    One also supposes that he supervised a coverup, too.

  6. I am not comfortable with holding someone who has caused a traffic jam responsible for all consequences. That argument is used against protest marches. I hope that there are other laws that can be invoked and that we do not need a murder charge to punish the perpetrators.

    The part that I find amazing is that this went on for four days. The head of the the PA seems to have had a lack of curiosity even surpassing Christie’s

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