Gov. Chris Christie announced Friday that David Samson, chairman of the board of commissioners of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey who is at the center of the "Bridgegate" lane-closure scandal, was stepping down.
Samson, the 74-year-old, Newark-born lawyer who had previously served as New Jersey's attorney general, is a politically connected lawyer that has been accused of treating his Port Authority appointment as an extension of his legal career.
Samson is allegedly also being investigated by federal officials for using his position in the Port Authority to further his interests with his firm of Wolff & Samson.
In a statement Friday, Samson said “the timing is now right, and I am confident that the Governor will put new leadership in place to address the many challenges ahead.”
The news comes on the heels of a report from a law firm that said Christie had no connection to the closing of traffic lanes leading to George Washington Bridge, nor did the governor’s office treat the city of Hoboken unfairly in doling out Hurricane Sandy relief funds.
Christie, in a press conference Friday, said that Samson had begun speaking to him about a year ago regarding stepping down, but that the governor asked the commissioner to stay on.
In addition to the internal inquiry sparked by the governor's office, the state legislature and U.S. Attorney General's office have both begun independent investigations.
Christie said Friday that his office has sent more that 50,000 pages of documents to the legislature in response to their inquiries.
The report released Thursday by Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher pinned much of the blame for the ‘Bridgegate’ scandal on the governor’s former chief of staff, Bridget Ann Kelly.
Kelly was fired by the governor in January.