NEWARK, N.J. — The Latest on the trial in the George Washington Bridge lane-closing scandal (all times local):
The government’s key witness in the George Washington Bridge lane-closing scandal has described how a cover story was promoted in the aftermath of the September 2013 gridlock aimed at punishing a Democratic mayor who didn’t endorse Republican Gov. Chris Christie.
David Wildstein also testified about which Christie staffers he told about the scheme.
Prosecutors say Wildstein conspired with former Port Authority of New York and New Jersey executive Bill Baroni and former Christie deputy chief of staff Bridget Kelly to realign traffic lanes to cause gridlock and punish a mayor who didn’t endorse Christie.
Wildstein testified Wednesday he briefed Baroni before Baroni told a New Jersey legislative committee in 2013 that the realignment was part of a traffic study.
Wildstein also said he told Christie’s press spokesman and chief counsel about the plot and his involvement in it in early December 2013. Christie said around that time he believed the traffic study explanation, and later said he only learned the full extent of the scheme when emails were released in January.
The government’s key witness in the George Washington Bridge lane-closing says Republican Gov. Chris Christie’s staff asked him to produce a list of authority employees so the Democrats could be purged.
David Wildstein testified under cross-examination Wednesday that the request came two weeks after he started work at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in 2010.
Wildstein is a high school acquaintance of Christie’s. The position as director of interstate capital projects was created for him.
He pleaded guilty and is testifying against two former Christie allies charged in a scheme to create traffic jams in 2013 to punish a Democratic mayor who didn’t endorse Christie’s re-election bid.
Wildstein also testified that even after he resigned he expected to stay a part of Christie’s “political future.”
Jurors in the George Washington Bridge lane-closing trial are seeing video of one of the defendants testifying before a New Jersey legislative committee in 2013.
Prosecutors contend Bill Baroni lied when he told the committee the traffic jams that September were caused by a traffic study.
Baroni was appointed by Republican Gov. Chris Christie to the authority that runs the bridge. Baroni is charged with causing the gridlock to punish a mayor who didn’t endorse Christie. Christie’s former deputy chief of staff, Bridget Kelly, is also on trial.
Another official, David Wildstein, pleaded guilty and testified this week that Baroni and Kelly plotted with him to retaliate against the Fort Lee mayor.
Wildstein testified Tuesday that Christie was told about the traffic jam while it was underway. Christie denies that.