New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie enters a news conference Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014, at the Statehouse in Trenton, N.J. Christie has fired a top aide who engineered political payback against a town mayor, saying she lied. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
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New Jersey Governor Chris Christie Thursday fired a top aide at the center of a brewing scandal that public officials orchestrated a massive traffic snarl on the busy George Washington Bridge to settle a political score.Christie told a news conference he was stunned and heartbroken by revelations that his staff was behind the traffic jam designed to punish a local mayor who declined to endorse Christie's re-election bid. The scandal and potential legal problems come as Christie has emerged as one of the most powerful figures in the Republican Party as head of its governors association and a possible contender for the White House in 2016 .U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman – whose job Christie held before he was elected governor – has opened a probe into the lane closures, his spokeswoman said.The controversy erupted with the public release of incriminating emails showing that a top aide to Christie played a key role in closing some lanes to the bridge, in a ploy to punish the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee, New Jersey.
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