Christie’s team criticized the letter from Wildstein’s lawyer, Alan Zegas, noting that Wildstein did not present any proof to back up the claims that his lawyer made.
The email also denied that Christie knew about the traffic jam or its political motive until after it was over and bashed Wildstein on a variety of fronts.
The email, headlined “5 Things You Should Know about the Bombshell That’s Not a Bombshell” was confirmed by Christie’s office. It was first reported by Politico.
A lawyer for Wildstein, who was the first of four people with Christie connections to lose a job because of the scandal, did not immediately respond to requests for comment Saturday.
Some Republicans said the accusations could derail hopes of Christie running for president if he can’t shake the scandal soon, while others were quick to express faith in the governor while discrediting his accuser and questioning his motives.
“It’s not good for him,” said Matt Beynon, a Republican operative who worked on former Sen. Rick Santorum’s 2012 presidential campaign and still has him as a client. “The longer the story goes on, the worse it gets for him. If this is still an issue a year from now, he’s going to have trouble pulling the trigger. … Gov. Christie will have to think long and hard about running.”
But Ken Langone, a co-founder of Atlanta-based Home Depot Inc. and a staunch Christie supporter, expressed no such reservations.
“I have complete faith and trust that the governor is telling the truth, and I continue to believe that he would be a superb president if he were elected in the future,” Langone said.
Matt Mackowiak, a Texas-based Republican consultant, agreed that Christie’s chances on a national stage won’t be harmed so long as he has been honest about what he knew.
“As long as he was telling the truth, he is fine,” Mackowiak said. “But if he knew about this, it brings him in directly and adds — potentially — dishonesty to the charges.”
Christie, who has kept mostly to the sidelines during the run-up to this year’s Super Bowl, which his state is hosting, received a smattering of boos and some cheers during a pre-game ceremony in New York on Saturday.
As the new head of the Republican Governors Association, Christie’s priority this year is raising money for the party’s gubernatorial candidates around the country. Republicans maintain that donors are staying loyal to Christie so far.
“My donors are saying they believe what Gov. Christie is saying. They’re giving him a lot of rope,” said Ray Washburne, who leads the Republican National Committee’s fundraising effort.