Kirstie Alley (right) is not David Wildstein, the ally of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (Christie is shown on the left).
Peter Macdiarmid/Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images
Kirstie Alley (right) is not David Wildstein, the ally of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (Christie is shown on the left).

Story highlights

New Jersey governor 'ally" confused with Kirstie 'Alley'

Lovely pictures of 'Alley' mashed up with news story about 'ally'

CNN —  

Kirstie Alley is not Republican presidential hopeful and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s ally–at least not the one who pleaded guilty to fraud and civil rights violations in federal court on Friday.

No matter what Kirstie Alley confesses online.

It all started Friday morning when people who perhaps hadn’t had their coffee misread a serious story in the New York Times about Christie’s high-school classmate David Wildstein, who was expected to plead guilty in federal court Friday morning.

A Christie ally, not actress Kirstie Alley.

The story was made more salacious–and dare we say, interesting?–by people mashing together a stunning shot of Kirstie Alley with the straightforward news story.

The New York Times had reported that Wildstein was expected to plead guilty to unspecified charges stemming from “Bridgegate,” the George Washington Bridge lane closings scandal that engulfed New Jersey politics and led to a 16-month federal investigation. Wildstein had ordered the closure of several access lanes to the bridge in late 2013.

Kirstie Alley first denied all involvement in “Bridgegate,” tweeting that the poster “might want to check your facts…Christie alley is NOT Kirstie Alley.”

Then she flip-flopped: “I TAKE FULL RESPONSIBILITY!! see I bought a new ASTON Martin and wanted the whole freeway to myself to test drive and…”

Just in case you’re confused, the mashup was the work of Internet jokesters; the New York Times staffers did not screw this one up.

“There was no error in this case,” Times spokewoman Danielle Rhoades Ha told CNN.

But the Times still felt the need to respond to the trending topic with a post: “To Be Clear: Kirstie Alley Not Linked to Bridge Scandal.”

The Times’ recommendation: “Any paparazzi heading to the federal courthouse in Newark might want to turn around. Unless they’ll settle for a photo of David Wildstein, the Christie ally in question.”

Wildstein did plead guilty to two counts in U.S. Federal court Friday, admitting that he conspired with Christie’s deputy chief of staff to close lanes of the bridge as political retribution against the Fort Lee mayor for not endorsing the governor’s re-election. The charges were conspiracy to commit fraud on federally funded property and one civil rights violation.

CNN’s Chris Frates contributed to this story.