It appears the rats are turning on each other with a vengeance in New Jersey.
NBC is reporting that yesterday a former deputy chief of staff of Governor Chris Christie and one of his New York-New Jersey Port Authority appointees were indicted by the feds for conspiring to foul up traffic entering onto the George Washington Bridge in September of 2013. It was an ugly piece of political thuggery which caused massive traffic jams over a five day period in the city of Ft. Lee, NJ.
David Wildstein, another Christie port authority appointee copped a plea on two counts and testified in court he, Bridget Kelly, and Bill Baroni conspired to close two of three entrance lanes onto the bridge. He claims they did it because Ft. Lee's democratic mayor, Mark Sokolich refused to endorse Christie's run for re-election. The lane closures were timed to coincide with the first day of school. In addition to making kids and commuters late, emergency service crews were delayed by the massive tie ups. Wildstein also testified that when Sokolich began making calls to their offices the day after the screws were put to his city, per their agreement, no one would respond to him. After five days of mass confusion at the bridge, Patrick Foye, the Executive Director of the authority and an appointee of NY governor, Andrew Cuomo ordered the lanes opened.
Baroni's attorney called Wildstein a "habitual liar." He also told the media Wildstein would say anything in order to avoid going to prison. At the time of the closing, Bill Baroni was the deputy executive director of the port authority. Two months after the shit hit the fan in Ft. Lee he testified at a hearing that the closures were due to a traffic study and said the only mistakes made were not notifying the public in advance and Foye--you know--his boss.
Bridget Kelly was the deputy chief of staff in Christie's administration. She initially told the Governor she didn't have any involvement with the closings. Yesterday she stuck to her guns. In a news conference she said, "I'm not guilty of these charges. I never ordered, or conspired with David Wildstein to close, or realign lanes at the bridge for any reason, much less retribution. David Wildstein is a liar."
Yeah, well Ms. Kelly is going to find that defense a tough sell. In January, 2014 several local news outlets found an email from her to Wildstein dated August 13, three or so weeks before the closures. It read, "Time for some traffic problems in Ft. Lee." Wildstein's response was, "Got it."
The email was so damning Governor Christie fired Ms. Kelly on the same day it became public. The following afternoon he told the press he canned her, because, "She lied to me."
Christie has maintained from day one he knew nothing of the lane closures and yesterday tweeted statements saying the indictments are proof of it. NBC says it has been told by Department of Justice officials they've found no evidence Christie had any knowledge of the chicanery.
However, Wildstein's lawyer, Alan Zegas claims the governor did know about the plot and he has evidence which will prove it. There was no hint about when the revelations would be made public.
Whatever the case, none of this will impact Chris Christie's chances of winning the republican nomination for president next year. Those went down the drain the moment he appeared on camera with Barack Obama following the Hurricane Sandy disaster. Yes, you can fuck with people as maliciously as you want, but when you hob nob with the radical Islamic socialist currently in the White House, you instantly become persona non grata to tea party hacks everywhere.
Both Kelly and Baroni are due to be arraigned in federal court on Monday. Look for more finger pointing, name calling, denials, and dueling lawyers.
Hey, who says the American political system isn't the greatest in the world.
Ladies and gentlemen, as always, the bar is open.