Saturday, 21 October, 2017

Christie doesn't think he'll be asked to testify in Bridgegate trial

Howard Terry | 12 October, 2016, 02:45

Baroni and Bridget Anne Kelly, a former deputy chief of staff of Christie's, face multiple conspiracy and fraud charges for their role in the scandal.

A witness who pleaded guilty previous year testified Tuesday how he and two former allies of New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie mocked and made jokes about a Democratic mayor whose town was the target of their scheme to create traffic jams because he hadn't endorsed Christie. The message, Wildstein said, was that the Port Authority was not to communicate with either mayor.

On Tuesday, the Republican governor said: "All kinds of stuff is going on up in a courtroom in Newark".

"I have not and will not say anything differently than I've been saying since January 2014, no matter what is said up there (in Newark federal court)", Christie said.

Wildstein pleaded guilty previous year to charges related to the scandal, according to The Record, and is testifying in hopes of avoiding a prison sentence.

Gov. Chris Christie, in a late 2013 press conference, said none of his senior staff knew about George Washington Bridge lane closures.

Christie, whose Republican presidential ambitions were badly damaged by the scandal, has denied knowing about the scheme at the time and has not been charged with a crime.

Wildstein said that his boss, Bill Baroni, the former deputy executive director of the Port Authority of NY and New Jersey, told Christie about the lane closings when the three men met at a memorial ceremony in Lower Manhattan on September 11, 2013, the 12th anniversary of the destruction of the World Trade Center, two days after the traffic problems began.

Wildstein said that he and Baroni boasted to the governor about not returning Soklolich's repeated phone calls.

"Mr. Baroni said, 'Governor I have to talk to you about something, '" Wildstein recalled.

David Wildstein exits the U.S. District Court in Newark, New Jersey May 1, 2015. Jurors on Tuesday were shown several pictures from September 11, 2013 - the third day of the lane closures - showing Baroni, Wildstein and Christie talking.

"You'll be pleased to know that Mayor (Mark) Sokolich is having trouble getting his telephone calls returned", Baroni continued, according to Wildstein.

Prosecutors showed jurors several pictures from the day showing Baroni, Wildstein and Christie talking.

A jury is hearing for a third day from a key government witness in the George Washington Bridge lane-closing trial.

For months afterward, Port Authority officials insisted the lane closings were part of a traffic study.

"It wasn't just, 'hey there's traffic in Fort Lee.' There was a reason for creating that traffic", she told WCBS 880's Kelly Waldron.

Last week, Wildstein testified that the Christie administration used the Port Authority to reward local officials.

Sokolich had not endorsed Chris Christie in his re-election bid.

Christie was hoping at the time for a big landslide victory to demonstrate his crossover appeal if he were to run for president; he wound up winning re-election easily.

The scandal, though, helped drag down Christies White House campaign.

Christie has denied Wildstein told him about the plot. I knew nothing about the lane realignments as they were happening.

Christie, whose name is on a list of potential witnesses at the trial, has been meeting the attention recently with a heavier-than-usual schedule.

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