On Friday, NBC News admitted Nightly News anchor Brian Williams' report that federal charges for Christie had been ruled out in the "Bridgegate" investigation was incorrect.
In fact, the probe into the closing of lanes on the George Washington Bridge in September 2013 has not found Christie to have had prior knowledge of the closure "thus far." "The investigation is continuing,'' Rebekah Carmichael, a spokeswoman for U.S. Attorney for New Jersey Paul Fishman told the Asbury Park Press, who was first to catch NBC's correction.
NBC acknowledged the error on Friday. "An unscripted line of our Nightly News report was imprecise and implied that a final decision had been reached," an NBC spokesperson said of Williams' report.
On Thursday night, Williams said that "federal charges are now ruled out for Chris Christie in the affair that came to be known as Bridgegate." The headline on the segment's website was "'Bridgegate' Investigators Find No Link to Chris Christie."
Williams' segment was on a report by New York NBC affiliate reporter Jonathan Dienst on the federal probe of the Bridgegate scandal.
The U.S. Justice Department investigation into Gov. Chris Christie’s role in the George Washington Bridge lane closure scandal has thus far uncovered no evidence indicating that he either knew in advance or directed the closure of traffic lanes on the span, federal officials tell NBC 4 New York.
Dienst's report went on, "Federal officials caution that the investigation that began nine months ago is ongoing," and "When the final report is issued, Christie may still face complications from the scandal," making the inaccuracy of Williams' report clear.
The Washington Post's Erik Wemple noted the irony in Williams' false statement, as MSNBC -- NBC's sister news organization -- has been among the media sources applying the most intense scrutiny to a possible Christie link to "Bridgegate."
Williams noted the inaccuracy on his Friday night broadcast.
We may have added confusion to some complex reporting last night — and it has to do with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and the multiple investigations underway into so-called “Bridgegate,” when Christie surrogates allegedly ordered politically motivated lane closures on the busiest bridge in the world. The state of play is this: The Feds have SO FAR found no grounds for charges — no involvement of the Governor himself. Both the federal and state investigations continue.
Several state and federal investigations are examining the closure of lanes on the highly-trafficked bridge that connects New Jersey and New York. Christie has denied any prior knowledge of the lane closures, and dismissed charges of political motivations behind the move that created a mess for residents, Christie's office, and his 2016 aspirations. The controversy prompted Christie to fire his top political adviser and deputy chief of staff.