Bridgegate Scandal Update: Chris Christie Hit With Class Action Lawsuit For Making New Jersey Residents 'Late For Work'
By Rida Ahmed | Jan 10, 2014 02:13 PM EST
A federal lawsuit against Gov. Chris Christie, the state of New Jersey, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and others has been filed by six New Jersey residents over traffic jams in September that made them "late for work," UK MailOnline reported.
The suit filed in federal court Thursday appears to be the first civil claim over traffic jams that appear to have been caused as political punishment for the Fort Lee mayor. The plaintiffs want it certified as a class action. It was filed after lawyer Rosemarie Arnold learned this week that lane closures on an approach to the George Washington Bridge were "deliberate actions."
Arnold said her clients were late for work and that one suffered a panic attack. While Christie has denied involvement, his spokesman did not respond to an email seeking comment, UK MailOnline reported.
A woman, identified as a 91-year-old mother-of-two who moved to America from Italy for a better life, died after her ambulance was delayed due to the road closures enacted by Christie's political aides. Florence Genova had a heart attack at her home in Fort Lee, N.J., on Sept. 9 last year, but her ambulance took seven minutes to get there because of the gridlock.
Her family, however, said today that they don't believe that her death was due to the delayed emergency response caused by the George Washington Bridge lane closures ordered by Chris Christie's aides.
"I honestly believe it was just her time," Genova's daughter Vilma Oleri, 57, told the New York Times. "We want to stay out of it. It's not political."
According to UK MailOnline, angry friends and neighbors have expressed their outrage that Genova's care may have been compromised in some way for what appears to have been an act of revenge on one of Christie's political opponents. The 91-year-old was taken to the nearby Englewood Hospital where she died later that day.
Christie said on Thursday he was "heartbroken and humiliated" as he apologized for his staff's "callous" conduct leading to the "Bridgegate" controversy. At a two-hour press conference, he said he fired Bridget Kelly, the deputy chief of staff.
"I terminated her employment because she lied to me," he said. "I am embarrassed and humiliated by the conduct of some of the people on my team."
Christie also dismissed Bill Stepien, his former campaign manager who just days ago seemed destined to lead the state's Republican Party, saying that exercising leadership sometimes requires politicians to fire their friends, UK MailOnline reported.
Christie's presidential hopes will likely disappear if it's proven he knew about the incident. He insisted that he first learned Wednesday about a raft of emails that exposed his staff's conspiracy.
"I was blindsided," Christie said.