Jonathan Chait at NY Magazine has a good list of reasons why Christie is probably guilty (and, let's be real, no one with half a brain, so that includes some Republicans, maybe, believes Christie is not). The piece starts out by noting the way reporters saw a change in wording by the NY Times as an opportunity to point out that maybe Christie isn't in as much trouble as the paper suggests. But then Chait works to pull attention back to reasons Christie is likely guilty.
1. Wildstein is claiming evidence exists that Christie knew. He would look bad if such evidence does not come to light.
2. Wildstein spent time with Christie while the lanes were closed. If you had been ordered to close traffic lines for punitive reasons, and you saw the governor, wouldn’t you either tell him about it, or else already know he approved? Undertaking an action like that without knowing the governor approved it, and without having any desire to take credit, seems like an implausible motivation.
3. Christie has changed his story about when he knew about the lane closings. Having first asserted he learned on October 1, Christie later claimed he learned earlier, though would not say when.
Chait goes on to point out that Stepien is pleading the 5th, the petty retribution angle is being corroborated by many other instances of similar behavior, and the fact that allegations of abuse of power have been following Christie since he was in college.
I would add to this that the fact that a deputy chief of staff resigned is a huge indicator of knowledge. A deputy chief of staff in a governor's office does not do something like this without the governor's knowledge. Hell, a person with that job title is careful that every single move they make is in line with the governor's explicit desires.
Also, the text/email exchange between Bill Baroni and the administration after his testimony in front of the Assembly committee makes it pretty clear that people very close to the governor were aware of what he was saying (and knew he was lying) and were pleased. It's just not the sort of thing that gets discussed at that level without the governor getting included in the conversation at the very least.
Don't you just love the Friday news dump for the Christie scandals?