Christie Testimony: Wildstein Said Guv Office Cleared BridgeGhazi
Drip, drip, drip (or, it sure looks like an attempt by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to taint the testimony of David Wildstein has backfired in true Elmer Fudd style):
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s former ally David Wildstein told colleagues that he got clearance from the “front office” for the George Washington Bridge lane closings, Christie told investigators.
Wildstein, once a top official at the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, which runs the bridge, told someone that he got permission to shut down the lanes from Sept. 9 to 12, Christie told lawyers from Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP. A summary of Christie’s interviews with the firm was released yesterday, along with those of 74 other people who spoke to Gibson Dunn.
An investigation commissioned by Christie concluded on March 27 that he had no advance knowledge of a plot to close the lanes. Wildstein and former Christie deputy chief of staff Bridget Anne Kelly sought to punish the mayor of Fort Lee, New Jersey, for unknown political reasons through the tie-ups, according to the report, prepared by Gibson Dunn.
“The governor recalled someone (though he does not recollect who), relaying that Wildstein had said something along the lines of, ‘I’m not stupid; I got this cleared by the front office,’” according to a 12-page summary of three Christie interviews. [Editor’s note: Gotta love that variation on “I do not recall…”]
Further down in the Bloomberg article are more factoids that look like an attempt to undercut Wildstein, but that cut both ways:
“Drewniak commented that Wildstein knew his place, and would sit outside of the room and provide information when asked because he was the ‘fact guy,’” according to the summary.
“It was typical for Wildstein — who was always concerned about what the governor’s office thought of him — to call Drewniak before and/or after a Port Authority event that the governor attended to make sure the event went well,” the summary stated.
Jim Gilroy, who was responsible for planning the governor’s events, said Wildstein was his contact person within the Port Authority, according to a summary of his interview.
“When asked what his impressions were of Wildstein, Gilroy said that Wildstein was someone who got things done,” the memo said. Sometimes, Gilroy said, Wildstein “offered his advance team gifts or favors,” and Gilroy wasn’t certain whether Wildstein was joking or serious.