Ex-ally: Christie seemed happy about bridge mess
NEWARK, N.J. — Gov. Chris Christie was told about the epic 2013 traffic jam at the George Washington Bridge while it was underway, seemed happy about it and joked sarcastically that there was nothing political going on, a former loyalist testified Tuesday in the scandal that helped destroy Christie’s White House ambitions.
David Wildstein, a former executive at the agency that oversees New Yorkarea bridges and tunnels, took the stand for the prosecution at the trial of two one-time Christie allies accused of engineering four days of gridlock to punish a Democratic mayor for not endorsing Christie. Wildstein has pleaded guilty.
Wildstein’s account was the first testimony to suggest that Christie knew about the scheme while it was unfolding.
Christie has repeatedly denied that and has not been charged with a crime.
Bridget Kelly, Christie’s former deputy chief of staff, and Bill Baroni, a former executive at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, are on trial, charged with conspiracy, fraud and civil rights deprivation in the alleged political revenge plot.
Wildstein testified that Christie was told about the traffic in Fort Lee on the third day of gridlock during a Sept. 11 memorial event.
Wildstein said Baroni told Christie there was “a tremendous amount of traf- fic in Fort Lee” that morning and that Mayor Mark Sokolich was “very frustrated” he wasn’t getting his phone calls returned.
Wildstein said he and Baroni had talked the night before about telling Christie because they were proud of what they had done.
The closing of two of three access lanes to the George Washington Bridge caused bumper-to-bumper traffic in Fort Lee for hours.
David Wildstein leaves the Martin Luther King Jr. Federal Courthouse after a hearing Monday in Newark, N.J.