Witness says bridge authority used for politics

David Wildstein arrives at Martin Luther King Jr. Federal Courthouse for a hearing

David Wildstein arrives at Martin Luther King Jr. Federal Courthouse for a hearing

A courtroom witness has testified Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s office used the bistate agency that runs the New York area’s bridges, tunnels, ports and airports to funnel political favors aimed at gaining endorsements from local Democratic politicians.

David Wildstein testified Friday that among those directly involved in the effort were Bridget Kelly and Bill Baroni, who are accused of creating traffic gridlock at the George Washington Bridge in 2013 to punish one of those mayors for not endorsing Christie for re-election.

Wildstein has pleaded guilty in the scheme. Christie has denied prior knowledge of it and hasn’t been charged.

Wildstein considered himself the “bad cop” who would aggressively push Republican Gov. Chris Christie’s agenda at the powerful bistate agency.

Baroni was Wildstein’s boss at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. On Friday, Wildstein said he and his then-boss Bill Baroni often talked of the “one-constituent rule,” referring to Christie as the only constituent they needed to serve.

 

Kelly was Christie’s deputy chief of staff and headed an office responsible for outreach to county and municipal officials.

They have pleaded not guilty and have said the government has twisted federal law to turn their actions into crimes.

 

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