NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — The government’s key witness in the George Washington Bridge lane-closing trial is back on the stand.
David Wildstein is expected to finish testifying Wednesday in the trial of two former allies of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie charged with orchestrating traffic jams to retaliate against Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich, who refused endorse Christie in 2013.
On Tuesday, Wildstein testified he was told of a conversation in which New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Christie apparently discussed releasing a false report to tamp down questions over the unfolding scandal.
Cuomo spokesman John Kelly said Tuesday that “no such conversation” between the Democratic governor and his Republican counterpart in New Jersey ever happened.
“The only role New York played in this episode was a positive one: it was our executive director who blew the whistle and ordered the bridge reopened,” a spokesperson for Cuomo said. “To be clear, no such conversation between the governors happened, in fact no report of any kind was ever done, and whatever the admitted ‘Bridgegate’ architect thought or dreamt about New York’s involvement has no basis in fact. Anyone can say anything, especially a convicted felon spinning a tale, but it’s just false and delusional.”
Cuomo said he focused on changing the culture of the Port Authority, calling on New Jersey to pass reform legislation similar to New York’s, WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond reported.
Christie denied knowing about the plot in a lengthy press conference on Jan. 9, 2014. When asked if the governor lied during that press conference, Wildstein replied, “yes sir, he did.”
Bridget Kelly, Christie’s former deputy chief of staff, and Bill Baroni, Christie’s top appointee to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, are charged with conspiracy, wire fraud, deprivation of civil rights and fraudulently using an agency that receives federal funds. The most serious charge carries a 20-year maximum prison sentence.
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