|New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie|
Federal prosecutors told jurors today that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie knew about the Washington Bridge closings back in 2013 for political payback.
Gov. Chris Christie was told of the George Washington Bridge lane closures as they were occurring in 2013, a federal prosecutor told jurors on Monday in U.S. District Court.
David Wildstein, who has already pleaded guilty to playing a role in the incident, and Bill Baroni, who is now on trial for his alleged role in the scheme, “bragged” about the traffic gridlock that lane closures were causing when they spoke with the Republican governor at a Sept. 11 memorial in Lower Manhattan, Assistant U.S. Attorney Vikas Khanna said.
The two Christie-appointed former Port Authority officials mentioned the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee, Mark Sokolich, whom they are accused to trying to punish after he refused to endorse Christie’s reelection campaign, the prosecutor said.
“The evidence will show that Baroni and Wildstein were so committed to their plan that, during the precious moments they had alone with the governor, they bragged about the fact that there were traffic problems in Fort Lee and that Mayor Sokolich was not getting his calls returned,” Khanna told jurors during his opening remarks on Monday morning.
Khanna did not elaborate on what was allegedly said during the conversation with Christie, but told jurors that “evidence in this case may show that others could have, should have, perhaps knew certain aspects of what was going on.”
Baroni, the former deputy executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and Bridget Anne Kelly, Christie’s former deputy chief of staff, were indicted last May on charges of conspiracy, fraud and civil rights violations.
Christie is currently a top advisor to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.