"Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee," Kelly wrote in August in a message to David Wildstein, a top Christie appointee on the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
A few weeks later, Wildstein closed two of three lanes connecting Fort Lee to the heavily-traveled George Washington Bridge, which runs between New Jersey and New York City. He also told him he didn't want him working any longer as a consultant to the Republican Governors Association, which Christie heads this year.
The messages do not directly implicate Christie, but they contradicted his assertions that the closings were not punitive and that his staff was not involved.
Christie acknowledged Thursday that was a lie, because his staff didn't tell him what they had done.
He also said he had "no knowledge or involvement in this issue, in its planning or execution" and was stunned by the "abject stupidity that was shown." He said he was "embarrassed and humiliated" by his staff. At the same time, he said he accepted responsibility.
"I am responsible for what happened. I am sad to report to the people of New Jersey that we fell short," he said.
Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich called it "appalling" that the traffic jams appear to have been deliberately created.
Christie said he would go to Fort Lee on Thursday to apologize to Sokolich. What he said he found most puzzling was that he had never known his campaign was seeking the mayor's endorsement.
"This guy was never on my radar," he said.
Kelly hasn't commented. Christie said he hadn't spoken to her since the emails were released, saying he didn't want to be accused of trying to influence a possible witness.