What to Know
- David Wildstein has pleaded guilty in the scheme to tie up traffic at the bridge
- Ex-Christie staffers Bridget Kelly and Bill Baroni face fraud, conspiracy and civil rights charges in the case
- Christie has repeatedly denied knowing anything about the scheme until long after it was carried out
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie knew about George Washington Bridge lane closings in Fort Lee as they were happening, longtime Christie aide David Wildstein testified publicly for the first time Tuesday.
Pictures of Christie, Wildstein and Bill Baroni were taken the morning of Sept. 11, 2013 at the World Trade Center memorial site. It was there that Wildstein claimed he and Baroni bragged to the governor about the traffic nightmare the lane closures caused - and their refusal to answer phone calls from Democratic Mayor Mark Sokolich, who declined to endorse Christie's reelection.
Wildstein, testifying at the criminal trial of Baroni and Christie aide Bridget Kelly, claims the governor also told his Port Authority appointees not to communicate with Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop - who also refused to endorse the governor.
Wildstein has pleaded guilty in the scheme to tie up traffic at the bridge.
Baroni was Wildstein's boss at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the agency that operates the bridges, airports and other facilities including the World Trade Center. Kelly was Christie's deputy chief of staff and headed an office responsible for outreach to county and municipal officials.
They are accused of reducing access lanes to the bridge and face fraud, conspiracy and civil rights charges. They have pleaded not guilty and have said the government has twisted federal law to turn their actions into crimes. They also have said other people with more power and influence were involved in the lane closures but aren't being prosecuted.
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Christie has denied knowing about the bridge scheme until well after it was carried out, and a taxpayer-funded report he commissioned absolved him of wrongdoing. He hasn't been charged.