NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Bridgegate defendant Bill Baroni finished up on the stand Wednesday, and another witness testified that Gov. Chris Christie knew of traffic issues caused by the George Washington Bridge lane closures in September 2013.
CBS2’s Meg Baker reports Baroni, the former deputy executive at the Port Authority, walked out of court smiling after three days on the stand in his own defense.
“I’ll just tell you, Bill feels great,” said Baroni’s defense attorney Michael Baldasarre.
Now it’s co-defendant Bridget Anne Kelly’s case to present.
“Bridget Kelly has been living with this nightmare for three years and wanting to explain to the world what actually happened,” said Kelly’s defense attorney Michael Critchley.
Michael Drewniak, Christie’s former press secretary, was called to the stand by Kelly’s defense team.
Drewniak testified that he and David Wildstein, Christie’s appointee to the Port Authority, go back to when Drewniak only knew Wildstein as “Wally Edge,” his political blog name. He said through emails they became friends.
Evidence showed Drewniak even asked “Wally Edge” for advice on taking the public affairs job in the governor’s office.
Later on, after Wildstein revealed he was “Wally Edge,” the two men continued their relationship.
Over a steak and a glass of red wine in December 2013, Drewniak said Wildstein told him that not only were Kelly and Christie’s campaign manager Bill Stepien aware of the traffic study, but that the governor also knew about the lane closures.
“Anyone in Miss Kelly’s position, whether male or female, it’s a trying situation,” said Critchley.
Drewniak said he was never told the lanes were realigned to punish Fort Lee’s Democratic Mayor Mark Sokolich for not endorsing Christie in his re-election campaign.
Kelly’s defense is trying to distance her from Wildstein, but during cross examination, Drewniak called Kelly, Stepien and Wildstein, a tight group of friends.
Up on the stand Thursday is Evan Ridley, a former Christie staffer who admitted to lying about having a meeting with Fort Lee’s mayor and instead went out drinking in New York City.