His presidential ambitions on the line, Gov. Chris Christie fired a top aide and apologized on Thursday, saying he is "embarrassed and humiliated" by the politically motivated lane closures on the George Washington Bridge that caused a traffic nightmare for days.
Christie said he would go to Fort Lee later Thursday to apologize personally to Democratic Mayor Mark Sokolich and the residents.
Initially, Sokolich said at a news conference said Christie shouldn't come to town, saying the trip would be disruptive to school children, but soon relented.
Also Thursday, the U.S. Attorney's Office of New Jersey confirmed to CNBC that it was beginning a preliminary inquiry into the case "to determine whether a federal law was implicated."
At a news conference in Trenton, Christie said he was unaware until Wednesday of emails and texts that showed a top staff in his office had been involved in the scheme to disrupt Fort Lee, whose mayor didn't endorse Christie in his bid for re-election as Republican governor. The lanes were closed, supposedly for a traffic study, for four days in September, two months before the November election.