Lawyers for Bill Baroni, former deputy executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, rested their case Wednesday in the Bridgegate trial. Baroni, concluding days on the witness stand, continued to maintain he believed the massive traffic jams in Fort Lee in September 2013 were caused by a legitimate traffic study both at the time and when he testified at a legislative hearing that November.
Baroni tried to counter testimony from David Wildstein, his former subordinate at the Port Authority and the star prosecution witness in the trial, by saying Wildstein thought he was a “wimp.” Wildstein, who pleaded guilty in the case, told jurors the lane closings on the George Washington Bridge were designed to punish Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich for refusing to back Gov. Chris Christie’s bid for a second term.
Michael Drewniak, Christie’s former media spokesman and now chief of staff for New Jersey Transit, testified after Baroni. Drewniak, called by lawyers for Bridget Kelly, a former top Christie aide, said that by mid-October Kelly and Bill Stepien, Christie’s campaign manager, clearly knew the traffic jams were a problem.
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