TRENTON — In a remarkable day of swirling political drama, Gov. Chris Christie tried on Thursday to control the damage from revelations that his administration ordered the revenge-closings of traffic lanes at the George Washington Bridge by firing a top aide, cutting ties with a longtime political adviser and repeatedly apologizing in a nearly two-hour news conference.
Sounding somber and appearing contrite, the normally garrulous Mr. Christie said he had no advance knowledge of the lane closings and had been “humiliated” by the entire episode.
“I am a very sad person today,” he said. “I am heartbroken that someone I permitted to be in that circle of trust for the past five years betrayed that trust.”
His emotional news conference unfolded as the United States attorney in New Jersey began a preliminary inquiry and as — just down the hall at the State House here — a former associate who was involved in the lane closings refused to answer questions posed by Democratic legislators investigating the matter, saying he would tell his story only under immunity from possible prosecution.
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