Bridgegate witness: Christie backed lane closures
David Wildstein says Christie was aware of the scheme.
…, a former executive at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey who masterminded the plot, told jurors in Newark federal court that he and Bill Baroni, another Port Authority executive, discussed the lane closure with Christie before a memorial service marking the 12th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks at the World Trade Center.
The testimony marked the first specific evidence federal prosecutors have presented to back their contention that the Republican governor knew at the time about the scandal known as “Bridgegate,” despite his repeated denials.
Baroni and Christie’s former deputy chief of staff, Bridget Kelly, are charged with fraud and other crimes for allegedly orchestrating the September 2013 closure of access lanes at the bridge in Fort Lee, New Jersey, to punish the town’s Democratic mayor for refusing to endorse Christie’s re-election bid.
“Mr. Baroni said, ‘Governor, I have to tell you, there’s a tremendous amount of traffic in Fort Lee this morning,'” Wildstein testified, adding that Baroni was using a sarcastic tone.
Baroni also said the mayor, Mark Sokolich, was “very frustrated” that his calls to the Port Authority were being ignored.
“Governor Christie responded by saying, ‘I would imagine that he wouldn’t be getting his phone calls returned,'” Wildstein said.