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Wildstein Says He Talked to Christie About Political Use of Port Authority

Agency's 'bad cop' tells jury Democratic mayors were to be tempted with everything from projects to bits of steel from the twin towers

Baroni-Christie-Wildstein
From left, Bill Baroni, former deputy executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey; Gov. Chris Christie, and David Wildstein

David Wildstein, the Port Authority’s self-described “bad cop” and the government’s star witness in the Bridgegate trial, told a jury in federal court in Newark that the bistate agency was critical to Gov. Chris Christie’s plan to win endorsements from Democratic mayors when he ran for re-election.

Wildstein was the final witness Friday in the first week of testimony in the trial of former Christie aide Bridget Kelly and his former boss Bill Baroni, the former deputy executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

Wildstein, who pleaded guilty last year to conspiring to create a huge traffic jam in Fort Lee to punish its mayor for his failure to back Christie in 2013, said he discussed using the Port Authority’s resources in the reelection effort with the governor, Kelly, and others high in the administration. These could be big projects but there were also smaller temptations like flags that flew over the World Trade Center site on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attack and pieces of damaged steel from the twin towers. Christie has denied knowing about the lane closings in Fort Lee until after the fact.

Another witness, Matt Mowers, testified Friday that he learned in 2011 that there was already a list of Democratic mayors ranked one to 10 on the likelihood they would endorse Christie.

Wildstein said that when Christie named Baroni to the Port Authority, Baroni invited him to be the “bad cop. Wildstein’s testimony is expected to continue Monday.

Read the full story on WNYC Online, a content partner of NJ Spotlight.

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