NEW YORK (FOX 5 NY) - The Democratic mayor of Fort Lee, New Jersey knew early on one September morning in 2013 that people in the Christie administration were conspiring to cause a traffic nightmare at the George Washington Bridge because he had not endorsed the governor for re-election.
"From the minute I woke up that morning I knew it (lane closure) was the result of the failure to endorse," Sokolich told FOX 5 NY morning program, 'Good Day NY.'
Sokolich did not want to point fingers at the Christie administration out of fear.
“At the point that we knew it was about this endorsement and before the email, I was very nervous that Fort Lee was going to continue to be a political pin cushion. Up until that point that the email surfaced I was downplaying that story, after it went national I felt comfortable that the world knew and (I said) yeah, it was about the endorsement," said Sokolich.
The email written by co-conspirator Bridge Anne Kelly read: "time for traffic trouble in Fort Lee." It was sent in the days leading up to the lane closures that caused significant tie-ups at the busiest bridge in the country for several days.
Bill Baroni, a former executive at the Port Authority of NY and NJ; and Kelly, a top aide to Christie, were sentenced Wednesday in the infamous 'Bridgegate' scandal for orchestrating the lane closures.
Asked if he felt threatened that something would happen to Fort Lee as the lane closure scandal enfolded, Sokolich said "the thought always crossed my mind."
"These were always subtle overtures. But I did have my principles and I’ll support who I want to support," said Sokolich.
As for Christie and whether he believes, as many critics do, that Christie was aware of the lane closure retribution plot, Sokolich said he isn't certain.
“I don’t know. When you look at the totality of the circumstances, and all the stories, it would be difficult to believe that he would not be aware. It’s just very difficult to figure out if he knew or didn’t know.”